What Is Minimum Wage In European Union 2015

A year ago I created a blog post about minimum wages in European Union in 2014, that post generated a lot of views (more than 20,000 page views) and some buzz (got shared on Facebook, Reddit and many other websites)

I decided to look back and compare how does minimum wage has changed in European Union member countries a year latter (2015)

Update: For a complete list with minimum wages in EU for 2017, please visit: Minimum Wages in European Union 2017

Minimum wage in European Union 2015

Minimum wage in European Union 2015

In short - minimum wage has been increased almost in every country, with exception - Ireland and Germany. Germany is newcomer to the minimum wage list this year.

The fastest growing minimum wages have been recorded in Romania 14% growth (+33 EUR/monthly), Latvia 11% growth (+40 EUR/monthly), Lithuania 11% growth (+36 EUR/monthly), United Kingdom 11% growth (+152 EUR/monthly) and Bulgaria 10% growth (+21 EUR/monthly)

Now - at first I was surprised to see United Kingdom among fastest growing minimum wages, but then I realized - it's all about currency exchange rates (United Kingdom is not part of Euro Zone) - read more about that bellow.

The largest monthly minimum wage have been set in Luxembourg (EUR 1,923/USD 2,134) while the lowest in Bulgaria (EUR 194 / USD 215) making a gap between those two countries of EUR 1729 / USD 1919

About minimum wage

Minimum wage is set by government minimum standard of guaranteed income (hourly/monthly) that worker should receive for work he/she performs. In 2015, there were 22 countries out of 28 in European Union, which had their national minimum wages set. Newcomer to this list is Germany, which starting 2015 have set a minimum wage of EUR 1,473. Countries that don't have minimum wage set by government in European Union - Austria, Denmark, Finland, Cyprus, Italy and Sweden (these countries have some collective bargaining agreements)

Minimum wage table in European Union 2015

  2014 2015          
  EUR USD EUR USD Hourly EUR Hourly $ Growth EUR Growth $ Growth %
Luxembourg 1,921 2,593 1,923 2,134 11.1 12.32 2 2.22 0.10
United Kingdom 1,226 1,655 1,378 1,529 9.09 10.08 152 168.72 11.03
Netherlands 1,485 2,004 1,502 1,667 8.66 9.61 17 18.87 1.13
Belgium 1,501 2,026 1,502 1,667 8.94 9.92 1 1.11 0.06
Germany N/A  N/A 1,473 1,635 8.51 9.44 N/A N/A N/A
Ireland 1,461 1,972 1,461 1,621 8.65 9.60 0 0 0
France 1,455 1,964 1,458 1,618 9.47 10.51 3 3.33 0.20
Slovenia 789 1,065 791 878 4.56 5.06 2 2.22 0.25
Spain 752 1,015 757 840 5.08 5.63 5 5.55 0.66
Malta 702 947 703 780 4.06 4.5 1 1.11 0.14
Greece 683 922 684 759 3.41 3.78 1 1.11 0.14
Portugal 565 762 589 653 3.37 3.74 24 26.64 4.07
Poland 405 546 410 455 2.4 2.66 5 5.55 1.21
Croatia 396 534 400 444 2.31 2.56 4 4.44 1
Estonia 355 479 390 432 2.32 2.57 35 38.85 8.97
Slovakia 352 475 380 421 2.2 2.44 28 31.08 7.36
Latvia 320 432 360 399 2.18 2.41 40 44.4 11.11
Hungary 327 441 345 382 2 2.22 18 19.98 5.21
Czech Republic 309 417 335 371 2 2.22 26 28.86 7.76
Lithuania 289 390 325 360.75 1.97 2.18 36 39.96 11.07
Romania 202 272 235 260.85 1.5 1.66 33 36.63 14.04
Bulgaria 173 233 194 215.34 1.13 1.25 21 23.31 10.82
                   
Average 712 961     4.76 5.29      

Data sources for above chart: Minimum wages on EurostatList of sovereign states in Europe by minimum wage. USD currency conversation rates for 2015 are  taken on July 1st (1 EUR = 1.11 USD). USD currency rates for 2014: 1 EUR - 1.35 USD.

This year I decided to include an hourly minimum wage in this table as well.

In some countries the basic national minimum wage is not fixed at a monthly rate but at an hourly or weekly rate. For these countries the hourly or weekly rates are converted into monthly rates. The national minimum wage is enforced by law, often after consultation with the social partners, or directly by national intersectoral agreement (this is the case in Belgium and Greece). The national minimum wage usually applies to all employees, or at least to a large majority of employees in the country. Minimum wages are gross amounts, that is, before deduction of income tax and social security contributions. Such deductions vary from country to country.

Currency exchange rates

7 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and United Kingdom) out of these 22 are using their own national currency instead of EUR so it's not possible to guarantee 100% precise currency exchange rates for Euro money. Another interesting trend: EUR USD exchange rates for the last year have gone down from 1.35 to 1.11. In all above listed 22 countries (although the minimum wage have been increased) minimum wage in 2015 are less (if converted to USD) than in 2014. I believe this is a huge issue for those minimum wage receivers who have some debts in USD currency.

What's up for 2016?

In my first review of minimum wages in European Union I was eager promoter of the idea of a standard of minimum wage in European Union. Now I'm looking into this with ambivalent feelings - at first I'm looking to have more socially equal Europe, on the other hand I understand that idea of standard minimum wage is pretty populist idea. I doubt there will be standard of minimum wage in EU in 2016.

We have seen a pretty good increase in minimum wages for the EU newcomers from the Eastern Block this year, speaking of 2016 I would forecast more humble growth there. Probably some good growth rate in Romania and Bulgaria.

Will 2016 will bring a cut in minimum wage? Personally I doubt this, but if, then most probably in Greece.