According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, Estonia has the eighth lowest minimum wage in the entire bloc – €584 a month.
The seven countries that have an even lower minimum wage than Estonia are Bulgaria (€312), Latvia (€430), Romania (€466), Hungary (€487), Croatia (€546), the Czech Republic (€575) and Slovakia (€580).
However, when comparing Estonia with Lithuania, the latter has a slightly higher minimum wage – €607.
In January 2020, 21 out of the 27 EU Member States (Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden were the exceptions) had a national minimum wage, as did the United Kingdom (left the EU on 31 January) and all of the EU candidate countries (Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Turkey), Eurostat noted.
As of 1 January 2020, monthly minimum wages varied widely across the member states, from €312 in Bulgaria to €2,142 in Luxembourg.
Estonia lags behind in purchasing power parity
Compared with January 2010, minimum wages were higher in January 2020 in every EU member state having a national minimum wage, except in Greece where they were 12% lower.
“Between January 2010 and January 2020, the average annual rate of change of minimum wages was highest in Romania (12.5%) and in Lithuania (10.1%),” Eurostat said. In addition, Bulgaria (9.8%), Estonia (7.7%), the Czech Republic (6.7%), Poland (6.6%) and Slovakia (6.5%) recorded significant increases, the agency added.
When comparing the gross minimum wages taking into account the differences in price levels by applying purchasing power parities for household final consumption expenditure, Estonia lags behind most of the other EU countries – only Latvia and Bulgaria have lower purchasing power parities.
The cover image is illustrative (Shutterstock).