Low Pay & Low Income: some insights on ‘The Working Poor’

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Micheál Collins

Earlier this year Eurostat, the EU Statistics Agency, released data on the number of low-paid workers in Ireland and across the EU. Their analysis defines low-earnings in relative terms measured as those earning two thirds or less of the national median gross hourly earnings. Median earnings are the earnings of the middle worker in the distribution of workers from the lowest earner to the highest earner. The data is from the 2010 Structure of Earnings Survey, a survey that occurs every four years across the EU.

According to the survey, the low-wage threshold in 2010 was €12.20 per hour. Eurostat found that 20.7% of Irish workers are considered low paid. Low pay is more common among women, those with low education levels and workers with fixed duration contracts.

The data complements the most recent CSO SILC data on low incomes. In the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts document, indicator 5.3 examines the composition of all those living in households on a low income – measured as those below the poverty line. When poverty among those aged 16 years and above is decomposed by principle economic status (the main thing that people do), those at work (the working poor) represent 14.2% of all those adults at risk of poverty.

The latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts is available here.

Details of the Eurostat low-wage report are here:



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