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National Minimum Wage Act 2000


There are some exceptions to those entitled to receive the national minimum wage. The legislation does not apply to a person employed by a close relative (for example, a spouse or parent) nor does it apply to those in statutory apprenticeships. Also some employees such as young people under eighteen and trainees are only guaranteed a reduced or sub-minimum rate of the national minimum wage.

There are other minimum rates of pay for employees in certain sectors. In some sectors they are set out in Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) made by Joint Labour Committees. In other sectors they are set out in Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) made by collective agreements. 

Exemptions for employers

If an employer cannot afford to pay the national minimum wage due to financial difficulty the Labour Court may exempt an employer from paying the minimum wage rate for between three months and one year. Only one such exemption can be allowed. The employer must demonstrate that he/ she is unable to pay the national minimum wage and that, if compelled to do so, would have to lay-off employees or terminate their employment. An exemption may only be sought from paying the full rate of the national minimum wage, not for cases covered by the reduced rate, for example, employees who are under 18 years of age.

The current rates payable under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 are available here.

The Low Pay Commission

The principal function of the Low Pay Commission is, on an annual basis, to examine and make recommendations to the Minister on the appropriate level of the national minimum wage and related matters.

Under the National Minimum Wage (Low Pay Commission) Act, 2015 the Low Pay Commission shall make such recommendations to the Minister that are designed to set a minimum wage that is fair and sustainable, and when appropriate, is adjusted incrementally, and that, over time, is progressively increased to assist as many low-paid workers as is reasonably practicable without creating significant adverse consequences for employment or competitiveness. (

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