Minimum wage


Generally, the amount of pay you get for working is agreed between you and your employer. Pay negotiations normally happen when you get a job offer.

However, most employees are entitled to a minimum wage under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000.

Since 1 January 2024, the national minimum wage is €12.70 per hour. Some people get sub-minimum rates, such as people aged under 20 (see the ‘Rates’ section below).

The national minimum wage does not stop an employer from offering you a higher wage. You cannot agree to be paid less than the minimum wage or to do unpaid work unless you are employed by a close family relative or are on a recognised apprenticeship.

Different rates of pay for certain sectors

Employees in certain sectors have other minimum rates of pay, for example, the security and cleaning sectors. The rules for these sectors are set out in Employment agreements and orders made by Joint Labour Committees.

Even if the hourly pay rates are set out in an Employment Regulation Order (ERO), an employer must pay their employees at least the legal minimum wage.

What counts as pay?

For the minimum wage, your gross wage (your total pay before any money is deducted, such as tax or pension contributions) includes:

  • Your normal basic pay
  • Any shift premium
  • Any fee, bonus or commission
  • Service charges given through the payroll
  • Zero Hours payments

If you get food (known as board) or accommodation (known as lodgings) from your employer, the following amounts are included in the minimum wage calculation:

  • Board rates: €1.14 an hour
  • Lodging rates: €30 a week or €4.28 a day

Employers must pay a minimum wage to work experience placements, work trials, internships and any other employment practice involving unpaid work or working for room and board.

How is my hourly rate calculated?

Your hourly rate is calculated by dividing your gross pay by the total number of hours you have worked. This is set out in the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 Section 20.

However, it must be clear:

  • What pay is included
  • Which hours are included as working hours
  • The pay reference period (whether you are paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly)

Working hours

Your working hours are whichever is longer between:

Your working hours include overtime and travel time where this is part of the job. Time spent on training that your employer approved and during normal working hours, is also included.

Your working hours do not include the time you are:

  • On standby other than at the workplace
  • On leave, lay-off, strike, or after payment instead of notice
  • Travelling to or from work

Pay reference period

Your employer selects the period, known as the pay reference period, to calculate the average hourly pay – for example, a week, fortnight, or month (but no longer than a month).

Your employer must include details of the pay reference period in your statement of employment conditions, as set out in the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994-2014 (as amended).

You can ask your employer for a written statement of your average rate of pay for any pay reference period within the last 12 months. The employer has 4 weeks to give you the statement.

What does not count as pay?

When calculating the minimum wage, do not include:

  • Overtime premium
  • Call-out premium
  • Unsocial hours premium
  • Premiums for working public holidays, Saturdays or Sundays
  • Allowances for special or additional duties
  • On-call or standby allowances
  • Service pay (tips paid directly to you)
  • Tips placed in a central fund and paid as part of your wages
  • Certain payments you get when absent from work, for example sick pay, holiday pay or pay during health and safety leave
  • Payments you get when leaving your job, including on retirement
  • Contributions paid by your employer into any occupational pension scheme available to you
  • Redundancy payments
  • An advance payment of, for example, your salary. The advance is taken into account for the period you would normally have got it
  • Payment-in-kind or benefit-in-kind (except board or lodgings)
  • Payment not connected with your employment
  • Compensation for injury or loss of tools
  • An award as part of a staff suggestion scheme
  • A loan given to you by your employer

Workers not entitled to minimum wage

You are not entitled to get the national minimum wage if you are:

  • Employed by a close relative (for example, a spouse, civil partner or parent)
  • In a statutory apprenticeship
  • Aged under 20 (see ‘Rates’ below)

Current minimum rates of pay

Since 1 January 2024, the national minimum wage is €12.70 per hour.

Some people get sub-minimum rates, see rates below.

Rates on or after January 2024

Age group Minimum hourly rate of pay % of minimum wage
20 and over €12.70 100%
19 €11.43 90%
18 €10.16 80%
Under 18 €8.89 70%

My employer cannot pay me the minimum wage

If your employer cannot afford to pay the minimum wage due to financial difficulty, the Labour Court can give them permission, or exempt them from paying the minimum wage rate for between 3 months and one year. Only one exemption is allowed.

The employer must apply to the Labour Court for the exemption, and they must have the agreement of a majority of employees. The employer and the employees must all agree to follow the decision of the Labour Court.

The employer must show that they are unable to pay the minimum wage and that if they had to pay it, they would need to lay off or dismiss employees.

Employers can only be exempt from paying the full rate of the minimum wage. They cannot be exempt from paying the reduced rate (for example, to employees under 18).


If you ask your employer to pay the minimum wage, you are protected by law from victimisation or dismissal.

If you are dismissed for asking for the minimum wage, you can bring a claim for unfair dismissal. You can do this no matter how long you have worked for your employer or how many hours you work each week.

If you are due an increase under the National Minimum Wage Act, your employer may try to cut your working hours to avoid an increase in the overall cost of your pay. However, they cannot do this without also reducing your duties or the amount of work.

How to make a complaint

If you are not getting the minimum wage, you should speak with your employer first.

If you cannot resolve the problem with your employer, you can complete the online complaint form on

This form gives you 2 options, you can:

  1. Request an investigation by an inspector from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The inspector will investigate your claim that the minimum wage is not being paid.
  2. Refer a dispute to a WRC adjudicator. However, you can only do this after asking your employer for a statement outlining the calculation of the average hourly pay. You must refer the dispute within 6 months of getting the statement. If necessary, the time limit can be extended to a maximum of 12 months. Where your employer has not given you the statement, the time starts from the date they should have (that is, within 4 weeks of the request).

You cannot refer a complaint about the same dispute to both an adjudicator and an inspector. This is set out in the National Minimum Wage Act.

Victimisation cases

If you are alleging victimisation, you should ask your employer to bring back your working conditions to how they were before the victimisation occurred.

If your employer does not do this within 2 weeks of you asking, you can refer your case to the WRC adjudicator. You must do this within 6 months of the alleged victimisation (which may be extended to a maximum of 12 months).

Living wage for all

A national living wage will replace the national minimum wage from 2026. The living wage will be set at 60% of the median wage in any given year.

The national minimum wage will remain in place until the 60% living wage is fully phased in. The national minimum wage will increase over the years as usual.

Contact the WRC

You can get more information on the national minimum wage from the Workplace Relations Commission’s Information and Customer Service.

Workplace Relations Commission - Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road
R93 E920

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 0818 80 80 90
Page edited: 25 March 2024