The Latvian minimum wage is the second lowest in the European Union / Article

21 of the 27 EU Member States have national minimum wages, making Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden the exceptions. Based on their levels in euros, these 21 Member States can be divided into three main groups.

In January 2022, 13 Member States, located in the east and south of the EU, had a minimum wage below €1,000 per month: Bulgaria (€332), Latvia (€500), Romania (€515) , Hungary (€542), Croatia (€624), Slovakia (€646), Czech Republic (€652), Estonia (€654), Poland (€655), Lithuania (€730), Greece (€774), Malta (€792) and Portugal (€823).

In Slovenia (€1,074) and Spain (€1,126), the minimum wage was just over €1,000 per month, while in the other six Member States the minimum wage was above €1,500. € per month: France (€1,603), Germany (€1,621), Belgium (€1,658), Netherlands (€1,725), Ireland (€1,775) and Luxembourg (€2,257).

For comparison, the federal minimum wage in the United States was €1,110 in January 2022.

Minimum wage in the EU

Photo: Eurostat

Lower minimum wage differentials once price level differences are eliminated

In the group of 21 Member States analysed, the highest minimum wage was almost 7 times higher than the lowest. However, the disparities are less once price level differences are taken into account. When expressed in purchasing power standard (PPS), minimum wages in Member States with lower price levels become relatively higher compared to those in Member States with higher price levels .

Eliminating price differences, minimum wages ranged from PPS 604 per month in Bulgaria to PPS 1,707 in Luxembourg, which means that the highest minimum wage was almost 3 times higher than the lowest. On this basis, it is possible to distinguish two main groups: group 1 with a national minimum wage above 1,000 PPS and group 2 with a national minimum wage below 1,000 PPS.

Group 1 includes Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Ireland, Slovenia, Spain, Poland and Lithuania. Their national minimum wage ranged from PPS 1,038 in Lithuania to PPS 1,707 in Luxembourg. While Group 2 includes Romania, Portugal, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Czechia, Estonia, Slovakia, Latvia and Bulgaria.

National minimum wages for this group ranged from 604 PPS in Bulgaria to 949 PPS in Romania.

All candidate and potential candidate countries with a national minimum wage belong to group 2, with minimum wage levels ranging from PPS 401 in Albania to PPS 888 in Montenegro. The United States (PPS 920) belongs to Group 2.


EU minimum wage (purchasing power standard)

Photo: Eurostat

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