Latest data shows significant minimum wage gaps in EU countries. Highest minimum wage is in Luxembourg, EUR 2,142 vs EUR 312 in Bulgaria


First report on minimum wages in EU in 2020 shows a positive but slow trend in countries from former Socialist Block. Minimum wages in the EU Member States ranged from EUR 312 (Bulgaria) to EUR 2 142 (Luxembourg) per month in January 2020. This data is compared to January 2010, and almost all minimum wages (expressed in euro) were higher in January 2020 in every EU Member State having a national minimum wage, except in Greece where they were 12 % lower . Romania (12.5 %) shows the highest minimum wage change over the period of 10 years (from 2010-2020) together with Lithuania (10.1 %). In addition, Bulgaria (9.8 %), Estonia (7.7 %) and Czechia (6.7 %), Poland (6.6 %) and Slovakia (6.5 %) recorded significant increases.

Based on the level of their national gross monthly minimum wages expressed in euro terms, EU Member States covered by this data collection may be classified into three different groups; non-member countries are shown in Figure 1 as a separate group.

The data is divided in 3 Groups, where Group 1 is for countries where national minimum wages are lower than EUR 500/month . The EU Member States with the lowest minimum pay in this group are: Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania and Hungary; their national minimum wages ranged from EUR 312 in Bulgaria to EUR 487 in Hungary. All 4 countries in this group joined EU 15 years ago, on 1 May 2004 and they are all post-communist countries.

These countries are followed by countries in Group 2, where national minimum wages were at least EUR 500 but lower than EUR 1 000 per month in January 2020. The EU Member States in this group are as follows: Croatia, Czechia, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Slovenia; their national minimum wages ranged from EUR 546 in Croatia to EUR 941 in Slovenia.

It is interesting that the country with lowest minimum wage (Croatia) in this group and a country with the highest minimum wage (Slovenia) both became independent countries following the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.

Minimum national wages in Group 3, were at least EUR 1 000 per month in January 2020. The EU Member States in this group included: Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg; their national minimum wages spanned from EUR 1,050 in Spain to EUR 2,142 in Luxembourg.

President of EC, Ursula von der Leyen, promised that she would propose a legal way for fair minimum wage in the first 100 days of her mandate.