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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 27 September 2020

The minimum wage is rising right across Europe (but not in Ireland)

However, things get more complicated if you compare it with rising prices for consumers.

AUSTERITY IS IN the past (apparently).

Through the years of tough budgets and times when the country looked precariously close to falling off a fiscal cliff, one important aspect of the country’s finances remained untouched – the minimum wage.

It has remained at €8.65 per hour. There are now rumblings from Government that it may be set to rise for the first time in years.

Siptu wants it to rise to €11.45 an hour.

A new study by Eurofound has looked at the payment across the countries it collects data for.

“Over the past two years, the minimum wage levels have begun to increase, and this first EU wide compilation of minimum wage levels in Europe in 2015 shows a marked change in trends,” it reads.

Coupled with low levels of inflation, statutory levels of minimum wage will increase considerably in most countries, and slightly in some, the report states.

As can be seen in the graph below, Ireland was among four countries not to increase the minimum wage, along with Belgium, Greece, and Slovenia.

Latvia and Romania both saw massive spikes – 12.5% and 14.7% respectively.

Mimum Wage1

Things get more complicated – and less positive – if you compare it with in real terms. This is the change in SMW compared with the Consumer Price Index.

Going by this measurement, Ireland’s minimum wage fell .3%. Similar falls of less than 1% were seen in Luxembourg, Belgium, Malta, and Slovenia.
Ireland -0.30%


Germany only introduced a statutory minimum wage this year. Eurofound has noted the country’s tactic, implementing it as part of collective bargaining, has sparked debate.

“The implementation and enforcement of the German legal minimum wage will have impacts not only at national level but even, as already seen through the discussions raised in the road transport sector, at pan-European level, especially with regard to the posting of workers,” the report read.

Read: Siptu wants the minimum wage to be €11.45 an hour >

Opinion: Raising the minimum wage sounds nice, but it could price young people out of work >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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