Budget 2017 saw the announcement of a reduction to the three lowest Universal Social Charge (USC) rates by 0.5% (i.e. 1% rate cut to 0.5%, 3% rate cut to 2.5% and 5.5% rate cut to 5%). Incomes of €13,000 or less will remain exempt from USC. The banding ceiling for the reduced 2.5% rate of USC will increase to €18,772.

The minimum wage will increase by 10 cent per hour to €9.25 from January 2017. This increase had already been recommended by the Low Pay Commission.

Of interest to employers and employees alike will be the increase to the State pension of €5.00 per week from March 2017 and a Single Affordable Childcare Scheme which will take effect from September 2017. In summary, this scheme will involve parental means-tested subsidies of up to €80.00 per month or €900.00 per year for children aged 6 months to 15 years.

The Minister also indicated that an announcement will be made in Budget 2018 in relation to employee incentive schemes for SMEs.