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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%).