Minimum wages in EU countries - what are the differences?


The amount of the minimum wage in the European Union countries is determined by law, regulation or as a result of public consultations. 22 out of 28 European Union countries have a regulated minimum wage. There are also countries where there is no minimum wage - these are Denmark, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus and Italy.

How is the minimum wage determined in EU countries?

Denmark - Minimum wages are set by collective agreements between trade unions and employers in the various sectors of the economy.

Austria - Minimum wage rates are set by collective agreements and are shaped differently by industry or economic sector. They may also differ depending on the age, experience or qualifications of the employee.

Finland - The minimum wage is regulated by collective agreements in individual sectors.

Sweden - Minimum wages are also set by collective agreements and vary across sectors of the economy.

Cyprus - Cyprus has a minimum wage regulation, but the government only regulates it for certain professional groups, such as sales workers, office workers, healthcare support staff, kindergarten, nursery and school support staff, security guards, janitors and cleaners.

Italy - Minimum rates are fixed by collective agreements.

What is the minimum wage in 2017? in selected countries of the European Union?

Amounts are given in Euro.

  • Luxembourg - 1999

  • Ireland - 1563

  • Netherlands - 1552,

  • Belgium - 1532,

  • Germany - 1498,

  • France - 1480,

  • Great Britain - 1397
  • Spain - 826

  • Slovenia - 805
  • Malta -736,

  • Greece - 684,

  • Portugal - 650

  • Estonia - 470
  • Poland - 453,

  • Slovakia - 435,
  • Croatia - 433

  • Hungary - 412,

  • Czech Republic - 407,

  • Latvia - 380
  • Lithuania - 380,

  • Romania - 275.
  • Bulgaria - 235

The amount of the national minimum wage does not always change every year - it depends on the economic condition of the country. An example is Greece, where the minimum wage was lowered in 2012 as part of the government's austerity measures. At that time, the national collective agreement was suspended and the amount of the national minimum wage has been determined by the government since then.

It would seem that the issue of regulating the minimum wage nowadays is something obvious and natural. However, countries such as Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which joined the EU in 2004 or later, have only recently enacted minimum wage legislation. 6 out of 28 Member States did not have such regulations on 1 January 2017.

However, the other founding countries have a long tradition of providing the lowest earners with a national minimum wage. Whether such an institution exists in a given country depends on the economic and political situation of the country. Undoubtedly, in states, the minimum wage is determined for the sake of their citizens.