How does the new national minimum wage affect you?

NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE – €7.65 per hour
If one was to believe the pledges of the opposition parties, then you will have no need to concern yourself about the reduction of the National Minimum Wage from €8.65 to €7.65 per hour. Indeed Fine Gael plans to restore the minimum wage to €8.65 within one month!
However, if like me you are no longer allowing yourself to fall victim of the pre- election promises then you should bear in mind the following: –
  • The National Minimum Wage of €7.65 came into effect on the 1st of February and applies to an experienced adult employee.
  •  An “experienced adult employee” is any employee who has at least two years work experience in any area. The two years work experience must be gained after reaching the age of 18.
  •  The following employees are exempt: Relative of the employer (Spouse, child, father, mother, sibling); Apprentices; Part-time employees are also entitled to the Minimum Wage
Q. If I am on the old minimum wage, can my employer reduce it to the new minimum wage?
At the risk of sounding like a politician, the answer is it depends. A Contract of Employment sets out the rate of pay of the employee. In a very limited number of contracts it states that the employee is to be paid at the prevailing National Minimum Wage. These types of contacts are extremely rare but do exist. If you have such a contract then an employer may reduce the employee’s rate of pay. In all other circumstances, the employee cannot unilaterally reduce your pay without prior agreement with you.
Q. I do not have an Employment Contract; can my employer still reduce my wages?
No. All employees are entitled to receive within one month of commencing employment a written statement of the particulars, to include the rate of pay. If like many others , you have not received this you can report the matter to the Rights Commissioner. If an employer has not provided you with a written statement of your particulars of employment, he/she is not subsequently entitled to reduce your wages without prior agreement with you.
Q. What do I do?
If your wages have been reduced without prior consent then you should immediately contact me and seek advice in relation to going to the Labour Relations Commission or the Rights Commissioner depending on the circumstances.
Q. Who should I vote for?
Please forward me your suggestions!!!
Laura@brophysolicitors.ie 
03.02.11
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