Discount grocery retailer Lidl have become the first big employer to commit to a ‘living wage’ for all staff. Lidl operate 143 stores across the country and the introduction will benefit 20% of their entire Irish workforce. 700 staff currently earn below this rate, with the remaining 80% earning above this per hour.

The measure will be introduced from November 1st and is a 30% increase of the Irish minimum wage that is currently set at €8.65. A similar commitment will be introduced for Lidl Northern Ireland staff that will be calculated using the sterling benchmark.

Lidl already pay above average for all of its staff, with entry level wage starting at €10.50 an hour, generally paid to store assistants and warehouse operatives. The new living wage will also rise to €13 per hour incrementally within two years.

Lidl Ireland did not announce the overall cost to the company of introducing a living wage to all staff. However, a similar move that was announced across Britain last month was approximated to cost £9 million.

The Living Wage is an independently assessed and measured rate of income considered necessary to have a socially acceptable standard of living. It is defined as the minimum pay workers need to meet their needs for housing, utilises, transport, healthcare, clothing and food.