How to read this map?
On 28 October 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a Directive on adequate minimum wages in the European Union. This is a watershed in the history of European social and economic integration because, for the first time, the Commission is initiating legislative action not only to ensure fair minimum wages but also to strengthen collective bargaining in Europe with the explicit objective of promoting upward convergence of wages in the EU. This is all the more important because minimum wage levels in the EU still diverge considerably.
The ETUI’s statutory minimum wage map illustrates the geographical division of the EU in this respect by assigning different shades of blue to the EU member states depending on the absolute level of their minimum wage. Three groups of countries can be distinguished:
Minimum wage of more than 9 euros (western Europe).
Minimum wages between 4 and 6 euros (Malta, Slovenia and Spain).
Minimum wages of less than 4 euros (almost exclusively central & eastern Europe).
In order to enable more robust comparisons, the ETUI’s statutory minimum wage map provides not only the absolute levels of minimum wages, but also information on the relative level of minimum wages as a percentage of the median and the average full-time wage, and information on the country-specific mechanisms to adjust minimum wages. Finally, the minimum wage map includes basic information on the various countries’ industrial relation systems, such as the collective bargaining coverage and unionisation rates.
- Minimum wages per hour and month: WSI Minimum Wage Database
- Minimum wages in % of the median and average wage: OECD Earnings Database for BG, CY, HR, MT, and RO; European Commission (2020) Commission Staff Working Document, Impact Assessment Accompanying the document Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on adequate minimum wages in the European Union, Brussels, 28.10.2020, SWD(2020) 245 final
- Setting the minimum wage, adjustment interval and adjustment indicator: Schulten T. and Müller T. (2020) Between poverty wages and living wages - minimum wage regimes in the European Union, European Studies for Social and Labour Market Policy, No. 1/2020
- Collective bargaining coverage and unionisation rate: ICTWSS Database Version 6.1
- Müller T. and Schulten T. (2020) The European minimum wage on the doorstep, Policy Brief 2020.01, Brussels, ETUI
- Müller T., Vandaele K., Waddington J. (2019) Collective bargaining in Europe: towards an endgame. Volume I, II, III and IV, Books, Brussels, ETUI