Disparities in minimum wages across the EU

As of 1 January 2020, 21 out of the 27 Member States of the European Union have national minimum wages: only Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden do not have any.

Monthly minimum wages generally below €600 in east and above €1 500 in northwest of the EU

The 21 EU Member States that have national minimum wages can be divided into three main groups based on the level in euro.

In January 2020, Bulgaria had the lowest gross* minimum wage (€312) across the EU. Nine Member States, predominantly located in the east of the EU, followed with minimum wages between €400 and around €600 per month: Latvia (€430), Romania (€466), Hungary (€487), Croatia (€546), Czechia (€575), Slovakia (€580), Estonia (€584), Lithuania (€607) and Poland (€611).

In five other Member States, located mainly in the south of the EU, minimum wages ranged between €700 and just over €1 000 per month: Portugal (€741), Greece (€758), Malta (€777), Slovenia (€941) and Spain (€1 050).

In the remaining seven Member States, all located in the west and north of the EU, minimum wages were above €1 500 per month: France (€1 539), Germany (€1 584), Belgium (€1 594), the Netherlands (€1 636), Ireland (€1 656) and Luxembourg (€2 142).

For comparison, the federal minimum wage in the United States was €1 119 per month in January 2020.

Smaller gaps in minimum wages once price level differences are eliminated

Across the 21 Member States concerned, the highest minimum wage in the EU was almost 7 times higher than the lowest.

However, the disparities in minimum wages across the EU Member States are considerably smaller once price level differences are taken into account: minimum wages in Member States with lower price levels become relatively higher when expressed in purchasing power standard (PPS), and relatively lower in Member States with higher price levels.

By eliminating price differences, minimum wages ranged from 579 PPS per month in Latvia and 618 PPS in Bulgaria to 1 705 PPS in Luxembourg, meaning that the highest minimum wage more than 3 times higher than the lowest.

Minimum wages in the EU Member States ranged from €312 to €2 142 per month in January 2020

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