Millions of low paid workers miss out on holidays


An analysis by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) reveals that workers receiving poverty-level pay are among the 35 million of the poorest Europeans who can’t afford a summer holiday. Overall, 28% of EU citizens can’t afford a one-week holiday away from home – but that rises to 59.5% for people whose income is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold (60% of the median). The worst situation is in Greece where 88.9% of people living at risk of poverty couldn’t afford a break, followed by Romania (86.8%), Croatia (84.7%), Cyprus (79.2%) and Slovakia (76.1%). The ETUC says that many Europeans whose income is below 60% of the median are unemployed or retired, but this group also includes millions of low paid workers, particularly those earning the statutory minimum wage. The ETUC is campaigning for the draft directive on adequate minimum wages to include a threshold below which statutory minimum wages should not fall. Currently minimum wage levels leave workers at risk of poverty in at least 16 EU member states and, according to the European Commission, 22 million workers make less than 60% of the median.

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