Government advised to examine the rate of PRSI paid by employers

As part of a report on living wages, an Oireachtas committee has also recommended raising the minimum wage

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File photo: Workers in the City of London, where the Government has introduced a new national living wage. Picture by: Philip Toscano / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated 12.50

A new report on low pay and the living wage recommends that the Government examine the rate of PRSI paid by employers.

Currently, Ireland's PRSI rate for employers is the lowest in the EU. The report says if it were raised to just the average of the 28 states an additional €8 billion a year could be used for investment in services.

The Oireachtas committee on jobs, enterprise and innovation says "a sustainable employer and employee rate of PRSI" should be implemented.

But Committee member and Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne says all parties have differing views on what the rate should be:

"All of us would believe that as the economy grows, and to grow the economy the government should be incentivising by reducing tax on business, reducing tax on job creation and therefore you are growing the amount of jobs and the Revenue you are saving on social services and the State would have more money to invest in services."

"There was a large debate on this and the different political views on this and the whole area of improving services."

The low-paid

One in five workers in this country are in low paid jobs - in other words they earn about two-thirds of the median wage of €24,000.

The report sets out a number of recommendations including taxation reform and improving public services.

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane, who wrote the report, says a multi-faceted approach is needed to deliver an adequate wage for all workers:

"Yes it is increasing the minimum wage where possible, but it is also looking at social transfers, improving workers rights, reforming the taxation system to take more low-paid workers out of the tax net and crucially, investing in public services."

"There is a roadmap to how we have achieved a living wage and I think it is very significant that, for the first time, we have an Oireachtas report and all parties signing up to the concept of a living wage."