Employers are being asked to pay freelancers to write about them, the research suggests.
The study also found that the amount paid to freelancers increased by about €1.8 million in 2012, while the proportion of the total cost paid by employers increased by 6.6 per cent.
“The amount of freelancers being paid has increased significantly in recent years, with the proportion paid by companies increasing by 6 per cent,” the report said.
The report comes as the Government begins a review of how employers are paying freelances, with a focus on ensuring the minimum wage is paid to all employees.
The study also said that some employers were paying workers more than their hourly rate to cover expenses.
A total of 10,000 employers in Ireland were surveyed in the last 12 months.
The average hourly rate paid to the workforce was €10.21 in 2011 and €11.55 in 2012.
However, there were discrepancies across sectors and occupations.
One-third of workers in construction, agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and service industries were paid more than €10 per hour.
About half of the respondents said they were paid less than €9.50 an hour, while almost three quarters of respondents said that they were working at the minimum.
“This shows that there is an issue in the pay structure in the UK,” the study’s author, Professor Alan Wills, said.
He said that a survey of more than 2,000 businesses in England and Wales found that workers earning below the minimum salary of £9.65 an hour were less likely to be able to afford childcare and health insurance.
Labour Secretary Frances Fitzgerald has said the Government will review the current pay structures and the conditions that enable freelancers.
Wills said the findings show that the pay scales in Britain are being eroded, and that employers must do more to protect workers and support their economic well-being.
In response to the report, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it had concerns that the report would lead to a reduction in the ability of freelancer workers to get on with their jobs.
According to the NUJ, the minimum wages paid to freelance writers are lower than those of non-freelancing workers.
It said it is working with employers and freelancers on the issue and would be calling on the Government to address the issue as soon as possible.
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