Real changes in minimum wage in Europe

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Real increases in minimum wage

The change in the statutory minimum wage should be viewed in the context of changing price levels. For this reason, the real changes in the statutory minimum wage over the period 1 January 2010 to 1 January 2017 have been calculated. As shown in Table 2, after this calculation, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Estonia still have the greatest increases in the minimum wage: these range between 23% in Estonia and 84% in Bulgaria. However the real rates are considerably lower than the nominal ones. Of the EU15, Luxembourg saw the highest increase in the real terms (by almost 5%). In four countries, however, minimum wages decreased in real terms: the Netherlands (by- 0.7%), Malta (-1.4%), Belgium (-4.3%) and Greece (‑24%). Overall, across the EU, the minimum wage is in real terms growing more slowly in the EU15 than in the NMS, indicating convergence between the two groups over the medium term.

Change in statutory minimum wages in real terms between 1 January 2010 and 1 January 2017
Country Change in statutory minimum wage
Bulgaria 83.6%
Romania 79.1%
Hungary 50.1%
Estonia 42.9%
Lithuania 39.0%
Poland 38.3%
Slovakia 29.3%
Latvia 26.8%
Czech Republic 24.6%
Slovenia 23.5%
Croatia 7.0%
Luxembourg 4.8%
United Kingdom 4.6%
Portugal 4.3%
Ireland 3.1%
France 1.3%
Spain 1.1%
Netherlands -0.7%
Malta -1.4%
Belgium -4.3%
Greece -24.3%
Germany N/A
Note: The scale ranges the greatest increase to the greatest decrease. The nominal minimum wage rates were converted to real terms using the monthly HICP index (prc_hicp_midx) for the period January 2016 to December 2016, as updated by Eurostat on 19 January 2017. – Source: Author calculation using data from Eurofound’s Network of European correspondents and Eurostat.

source: Eurostat


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