EU Economy
The Minimum Wage in European Union member countries 2011
By Finfacts Team
Feb 22, 2011 - 4:21 AM

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Jan 2011 comparison

A total of 20 of the 27 European Union member countries (all except Denmark, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden) and two candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey) have national legislation setting a minimum wage by statute or by national inter-sectoral agreement.

Monthly minimum wages varied considerably in Jan 2011 and the differences reflect, at least to some degree, the price levels in each economy, with the highest minimum wage being recorded in Luxembourg (€1,758 per month) and the lowest in Bulgaria and Romania (€123 and €157 respectively).

Ireland had the the second highest rate at €1,462 monthly but from Feb 01, 2011, the rate has been cut by 12% and the current monthly rate €1,293, puts us ahead of the UK but behind Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Fine Gael, the expected main governing party from March 9th, has promised to reverse the one euro cut in the Irish minimum wage, which is currently at €7.65.

Central Statistics Office data show that about 47,000 workers, or 3.1% of the employed labour force, were paid at or below the previous adult experienced worker rate of €8.65 per hour.

Adjusting for differences in price levels reduces the variation between countries; the minimum wage in purchasing power parity (PPS) ranged from €233 to €1,452 (a factor of about 1:6).

In 2009 the minimum wage level was between 30% and 50% of average gross monthly earnings in industry, construction and services (except activities of households as employers and extra-territorial organisations and bodies)

It was 31% in the US and 46% in France. There is no data for Ireland.

In comparison with Ireland's 3%+ ratio of the workforce on the minimum wage, in 2005 it was 2% or less in Spain (0.8%), Malta (1.5%), Slovakia (1.7%), the United Kingdom (1.8%) and the Czech Republic (2.0%) and more than 10% in France (16.8%), Bulgaria (16.0%), Latvia (12.0%), Luxembourg (11.0%) and Lithuania (10.3%).

Eurostat: Minimum Wage data published this month; it relates to January 2011 and does not include February's Irish cut.

In 2008, average gross earnings in Denmark were €55K compared with €41.4K for Germany and €40k for Ireland in 2007.


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