[Sinn Fein]

26 January 2000


Minimum wage: Earners should be outside tax net, and get 5 an hour index linked

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described the publication of the Minimum Wage Bill as welcome but long overdue.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``It has taken over two and a half years for the government to publish this Bill. While it is welcome it is long overdue. The detail will need careful scrutiny but one thing is certain - the proposed minimum wage level of 4.40 per hour is totally inadequate and must be raised to 5 per hour and index linked. Many employers have already had to increase pay to this level.

``In the Budget the Government disgracefully kept people on the proposed minimum wage of 4.40 per hour in the tax net. The Minimum Wage Bill will not be effective in addressing inequality and eliminating long-term unemployment unless these low-paid workers are exempt from tax. This must be made a Government priority in the months ahead.''

ENDS

Note: Deputy Ó Caoláin is available for interview through the numbers above.


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