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Employment


Social Justice Ireland 
welcomes the announcement that the Low Pay Commission has been give terms of reference to investigate how Ireland can move towards a living wage.  In principle, a Living Wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with enough income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living.  


The Government’s Stability Programme Update raises major challenges for Ireland on debt, infrastructure, taxation and services.  Social Justice Ireland believes a new approach is required if these challenges are to be addressed effectively.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought enormous uncertainty to the Irish labour market and consequently to many families throughout the country. As this article outlines, the pandemic’s labour market impact has been uneven, in particular when judged across age groups, genders and sectors of employment. Furthermore, the uncertainty remains and many of the challenges will only truly reveal themselves as the pandemic’s disruption recedes.

Annex 4 accompanies chapter 5 'Work' in Social Justice Matters: 2021 guide to a fairer Irish Society.  


Social Justice Matters 2021 guide to a fairer Irish Society provides a key reference point for anybody working on Irish social justice issues in 2021.  

Earlier this year, the Government announced that income tax revenues for 2020 were only down 1 per cent compared to 2019. Preliminary estimates for Q4 2020, set out in the latest CSO release in their Earnings and Labour Costs series, show unadjusted average earnings up 5.5 per cent on the previous year to €844.98 per week or €25.56 per hour. But these announcements are not cause for celebration, they provide further evidence that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected lower earners.

The gender employment gap is the difference in rates of employment for men and women.  New figures from Eurostat shows that education has a key role to play in closing this gap. For those with low educational attainment, the gap is wider than it was a decade ago.


A new report on ‘Digital automation and the future of work’ examines the nature, scope and possible effects of digital automation in the EU.  It identifies threats to job quality and an unequal distribution of the risks and benefits associated with digital automation. It also offers some policy options that, if implemented, would help to harness technology for positive economic and social ends. Overall, the report pushes for a new Digital Social Contract and a future of work that works for all.


At the European level, what the pandemic has cast doubt on is the very fundamentals of European integration. The main features of the European Union, what could be described as its “pillars”, are these: the single market and freedom of movement, the euro and the Stability and Growth Pact, and competition and state-aid law. We can already look ahead and see that the post-crisis EU could be standing on very different foundations if the questioning of the three basic pillars continues over time or, conversely, it could just as easily go back to its old ways.  What will the world environment in which this happens be, though? Here there are four possible scenarios emerging.

'Building a New Social Contract – Policy Recommendations’ contains more than eighty specific policy recommendations that would go a considerable direction towards a new social contract to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and ensure that a no-one is left behind as our economy and society recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

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