Students urge Dáil to abolish sub-minimum wage rates 

by Alex Greaney
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Alex Greaney 

UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) has called on the Dáil to quickly progress the National Minimum Wage (Equal Pay for Young Workers) Bill 2022 so that students can earn fair pay for the work they do in order to fund their education. 

A press conference is to be hosted last Thursday, June 8th, in Buswells Hotel by People Before Profit in order to highlight the benefits that the bill (currently in its second stage) would bring to young people, many of whom study in third level education. 

Speaking ahead of the event, UCDSU President Molly Greenough said: “UCDSU wants to see an immediate end to the exploitation of young workers under the age of 20. This is a form of discrimination that just compounds things for students working long hours just to put themselves through college. Abolishing sub-minimum wage rates for workers under 20 is only fair. We’re calling on the Government and members of the Dáil to support this Bill and take a simple step towards tackling the cost-of-living crisis, supporting young people in their pursuit of higher education and valuing them in the workplace.” 

UCDSU Welfare Officer Míde Nic Fhionnlaoich added: “This is really straightforward for politicians and maybe something that the wider public is unaware of. A law that says people can be paid less based solely on their age and not on their ability or experience is completely outdated. Aside from the many difficulties students face with the increased cost of living, the idea of two students, one who is 19 and one who is 20, who do the same amount of work, getting paid differently, is an idea of a completely different time.” 

UCDSU is supporting the Bill on the basis that it will address some of the following problems:  

The bill would amend the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 to end minimum wage pay discrimination for workers under the age of 20.  

The national minimum wage is €11.30 for people aged 20 and over, but for under 20s the legal minimum wage is as low as €7.91 per hour.  

Tens of thousands of young workers are set to be exploited as they take up jobs this summer.  

Businesses also use the low wages they are allowed to pay young workers to keep wages and hours down for older workers. 

MAIN PHOTO – UCDSU Welfare Officer Míde Nic Fhionnlaoich

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