In some places, the working poor are even poorer

The purchasing power of workers receiving the minimum wage varies 1 to 7.5 throughout the EU-28, according to the most recent Eurostat figures. Seven member states still do not have a minimum wage.

Luxembourg, which has by far the highest per capita income in the EU, also has the highest minimum wage. But the country also has the highest percentage of workers having to live on that minimum wage. In some other countries which do have minimum wages, they mark little more than a lower ceiling of workers’ payment, with just around 1% of the workforce being on minimum wage.

Workers on minimum-wage jobs in Bulgaria and Romania are poorest – in Romania this concerns one out of every eight workers. The two accession candidates are being followed by the Baltic states and by Slovakia.

Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden have not fixed a statutory minimum wage.

Minimum wage in 

Percentage of employees receiving the minimum wage (2004)

Euro

National currency

Belgium 1,234 1,234

:

Czech Republic 261 7,570 2.0
Estonia 192 3,000 5.7
Greece* 668 668

:

Spain 631 631 0.8
France 1,218 1,218 15.6
Ireland 1,293 1,293 3.1
Latvia 129 90

:

Lithuania 159 550 12.1
Luxembourg 1,503 1,503 18.0
Hungary 247 62,500 8.0
Malta 580 249 1.5
Netherlands 1,273 1,273 2.1
Poland 234 899 4.5
Portugal 437 437 5.5
Slovenia 512 123,000 2.0
Slovakia 183 6,900 1.9
United Kingdom 1,269 862 1.4
Bulgaria 82 160

:

Romania 90 330 12.0
Turkey 331 531

:

USA 753 893 1.4

*Minimum wage for non-manual labour. A different rate applies to manual labour

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