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Minimum wages in the EU

European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Written by Verena Kern

Several EU Member States have recently implemented adaptions to their wage policies. The most debated change was the introduction of a national minimum wage of 8.50 € per hour in Germany from 1 January 2015.

Minimum wages in the EUMinimum wages are common globally with different systems in place. About 100 countries worldwide, including 22 EU countries have statutory national minimum wages. In the EU, national minimum wages are highest in Luxembourg (11.10 € per hour) and lowest in Bulgaria (1,04 € per hour). Contrary to those are countries where minimum wages are set in sector-specific collective agreements. This is usually the case in countries with a high density of trade unions such as Austria, Italy or Sweden.

Minimum wages are meant to support household incomes and protect those with low wages from drifting into poverty. Moreover, they are seen as a means to reduce income inequality. Striking a balance…

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