Min­i­mum wage rose by 19% be­tween 2008 and 2017

The na­tional min­i­mum wage in Malta is €169.76 per week or, av­er­aged per month €736. This was re­vealed by Euro­stat in a study pub­lished last week. As can be seen from the ac­com­pa­ny­ing graph, Malta is around the mid­dle of the sec­ond group of EU Mem­ber State

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

Just be­low Malta there is Greece and then Portugal, fol­lowed by many coun­tries in East­ern Europe. The 19% change be­tween 2008 and 2017 is rather small com­pared to other coun­tries which have seen changes on the level of 109% in the case of Bul­garia, 69% in the case of Es­to­nia, but then just 7% in the case of Ire­land while Greece has seen a de­cline over the same years of 14%.

As of 1st Jan­uary 2017, 22 out of the 28 Mem­ber States of the Euro­pean Union (EU) have na­tional min­i­mum wages: only Den­mark, Italy, Cyprus, Aus­tria, Fin­land and Swe­den do not have one. The 22 EU Mem­ber States that have na­tional min­i­mum wages can be di­vided into three main groups based on the level in euro.

In Jan­uary 2017, ten Mem­ber States, lo­cated in the east of the EU, had min­i­mum wages be­low €500 per month: Bul­garia (€235), Ro­ma­nia (€275), Latvia and Lithua­nia (both €380), the Czech Repub­lic (€407), Hun­gary (€412), Croa­tia (€433), Slo­vakia (€435), Poland (€453) and Es­to­nia (€470).

In five other Mem­ber States, lo­cated in the south, min­i­mum wages were be­tween €500 and €1 000 per month: Portugal (€650), Greece (€684), Malta (€736), Slove­nia (€805) and Spain (€826).

In the re­main­ing seven Mem­ber States, all lo­cated in the west and north of the EU, min­i­mum wages were well above €1 000 per month: the United King­dom (€1 397), France (€1 480), Ger­many (€1 498), Bel­gium (€1 532), the Nether­lands (€1 552), Ire­land (€1 563) and Lux­em­bourg (€1 999).

For com­par­i­son, the federal min­i­mum wage in the United States was €1 192 per month in Jan­uary 2017.

Across the 22 Mem­ber States con­cerned, min­i­mum wages range from less than 300 eu­ros per month in both Bul­garia (€235) and Ro­ma­nia (€275) to just be­low 2 000 eu­ros a month in Lux­em­bourg (€1 999). In other words, the high­est min­i­mum wage in the EU is around 9 times the low­est.

How­ever, the dis­par­i­ties in min­i­mum wages across the EU States are con­sid­er­ably smaller once price level dif­fer­ences are elim­i­nated: min­i­mum wages in those Mem­ber States with rel­a­tively lower price lev­els be­come rel­a­tively higher when ex­pressed in pur­chas­ing power stan­dard (PPS), and rel­a­tively lower in those Mem­ber States with higher price lev­els. The gap is re­duced to a ra­tio of about 1:3, rang­ing from 501 PPS per month in Bul­garia to 1 659 PPS in Lux­em­bourg.

Min­i­mum wages may also be mea­sured in rel­a­tive terms, i.e. as a pro­por­tion of the me­dian gross monthly earn­ings. In 2014, among Mem­ber States con­cerned and for which data on me­dian earn­ings are avail­able, min­i­mum wages were above 60% of the me­dian gross monthly earn­ings in only three Mem­ber States: Portugal (64%), France and Slove­nia (both 62%). In con­trast, min­i­mum wages were less than half of the me­dian earn­ings in seven Mem­ber States: the Czech Repub­lic (39%), Es­to­nia (40%), Ire­land and Spain (both 45%), Slo­vakia (46%), Malta (48%) and the United King­dom (49%).

Com­pared with 2008, min­i­mum wages in 2017, ex­pressed in euro, in­creased in ev­ery Mem­ber State hav­ing a na­tional min­i­mum wage, ex­cept Greece where they dropped by 14%. Be­tween 2008 and 2017, min­i­mum wages dou­bled in Bul­garia (+109%) and Ro­ma­nia (+99%). In ad­di­tion, Slo­vakia (+80%) as well as the three EU Baltic Mem­ber States – Es­to­nia (+69%), Latvia (+65%) and Lithua­nia (+64%) – also recorded sig­nif­i­cant in­creases.

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