A new report from the WSI trade-union linked research organisation provides an overview of recent developments in statutory minimum wages with 19 of the 22 in the EU seeing an increase in 2017 or beginning of 2018 - the exceptions being in Greece, Germany and Luxembourg.The 4.4% average nominal increase is the second largest since 2009. The report found that most of the larger increases were in Central and Eastern Europe. In Western Europe the minmum wage rate was mainly above EUR 9.40 an hour with the exceptions of the UK and Germany.
Most minimum wages on rise across Europe
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The minimum wage is to be increased by 11.1% taking it to around 30 000 Serbian dinars a month (EUR 255). The unions had called for an increase of 24.5% to bring it in line with trends in the cost of living while the employers were looking at only 6%-10%. A deal couldn't be reached in tripartite dialogue and so the government acted unilaterally, while also lowering certain taxes on wages and benefits that employers have to pay. The minister of finance also announced a planned 5% increase for all public companies from 1 January 2020.
The Eurofound research agency’s overview of minimum wage increases in 2021 finds lower increases than in 2020 but still with six countries in Central and Eastern Europe – Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Lithuania – increasing rates by over 5%. Increases of 1%-5% were recorded in 11 Member States while rates were frozen in Belgium, Spain, Greece and Estonia. However, the cross-sector negotiations in Belgium recently included a commitment to increase the minimum in stages over the next six years. The median increase this year across Europe at 3% is well below the 8.4% figure for
The monthly and hourly minimum wage rates are set to rise by just over 9%, taking the monthly amount to EUR 607 and the hourly rate to EUR 3.72. The minimum wage is discussed in a tripartite council which takes into account a number of factors but the increases are also linked to specific targets - since 2017 it was stipulated that the ratio of the minimum wage to the average wage should be kept between 45% and 50%. It is also linked to trends in minimum and average wages across the European Union.