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    Minimum Wages



    The European Union consists of 27 European countries.

    The European Union or EU member States and the dates that they became members of the EU are as follows (in Alphabetical order):

    In January 2012, statutory minimum wages varied from EUR 138 to EUR 1 801 gross per month. Statutory means that the wages are regulated or set by the local Government or State.

    The minimum monthly wage levels in the European Union Member States ranges from (the gross minimum wage) from 138 EUR (Bulgaria) to 1,801 EUR (Luxembourg).

    The 20 Member States concerned together with Croatia, Turkey and the United States can be divided into three groups based on the level of minimum wage on 1 January 2012.

    The first group includes the eleven countries with the lowest minimum wages, between 100 EUR and 400 EUR a month: Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey and Croatia.

    2. The second group comprises five Member States (Portugal, Malta, Spain, Slovenia and Greece) and the United States with an intermediate level of minimum wages, from just over 550 EUR to just below 1,000 EUR a month.

    3.The third group comprises six Member States (the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg) in which the minimum wage was above 1,200 EUR per month.

    However, it should be noted that for non-EA countries (9 countries in the first group as well as the United Kingdom and the United States) the levels and ranking of minimum wages expressed in euro are affected both by the values of the minimum wages in national currencies and by exchange rates.


    The national minimum wage generally applies to employees. The basic national minimum wage is fixed at an hourly, weekly or monthly rate, and this minimum wage is enforced by law (the government). Minimum wage statistics published by Eurostat refer to monthly national minimum wages; data are published as on 1st of January and 1st of July each year. For countries where the national minimum wage is not set monthly (e.g. hourly or weekly) the rates are converted into monthly rates according to conversion factors directly supplied by the countries:
    - Ireland: hourly rate x 39 hours x 52 weeks / 12 months;
    - France: data January 1999 to January 2005: hourly rate x 39 hours x 52 weeks / 12 months; data from July 2005: hourly rate x 35 hours x 52 weeks / 12 months;
    - Malta: weekly rate x 52 weeks / 12 months;
    - United Kingdom: (Hourly rate x Mean Basic Paid Hours per week for full-time employees in all sectors x 52.18 weeks) / 12 months;
    - United States: hourly rate x 40 hours x 52 weeks / 12 months.

    In addition, when the minimum wage is paid for more than 12 months per year (as in Greece, Spain and Portugal, where it is paid for 14 months a year), data have been adjusted to take these payments into account.

    Data on national minimum wages are submitted to Eurostat in national currency. For the non-euro area countries, the minimum wages in their national currencies are converted into euro by applying the monthly exchange rate of the end of the previous month (e.g. the end of December 2011 rate was used for the minimum wages at 1st of January 2012).
    Countries not covered by the data collection

    Germany, Cyprus and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have statutory minimum wages that do not apply to all or the large majority of employees but are restricted to specific groups which are defined e.g. by sectors or by professions. These are excluded from the data collection. Also excluded are countries where there are no statutory national minimum wages: Denmark, Italy, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. In these countries, wages are either determined by negotiations between the social partners, at company level or at the level of individual contracts.


    Malaysia does not have a minimum wage plan. However , it is expected that the country will be announcing it's first-ever minimum wage plan soon. Reuters reports that the cabinet has approved a minimum wage of 800 ringgit (US$262.34) to 900 ringgit (US$295.06) per month, depending on the region. Such minimum wage standards would only be slightly above the surveyed poverty line of 760 ringgit (US$249.16) per month. This will be a turning point for the country's labour force!

    In October 2011, the Thai government increased minimum wages countrywide by and increase in 40 percent. Bangkok and six other rich provinces , the minimum wage was set to be up to 300 baht (US$9.76) per day. The new minimum wage will be effective from April 1.2012.

    According to Indonesian law, local governments have the authority to set their own minimum wages, and the minimum wage differs from region to region and sector by sector. However, the beginning of 2012 has seen widespread labor unrest across some of the country’s key industrial areas. In response, local governments have raised minimum wages in key industrial zones near Jakarta by as much as 36 percent in February, from US$170 per month to as much as US$230 per month.

    In August 2011, the Vietnamese government announced a proposed hike in minimum wages to combat widespread inflation. Minimum wages rose by 29 percent for foreign-invested companies and 48 percent for Vietnamese companies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while other regions saw a roughly 30 percent increase in domestic companies and 46 percent in foreign companies. The minimum wage ranges from VND1,400,000 (US$67.34) per month in remote areas to VND2,000,000 (US$96.20) per month in the key cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    A new law that grants workers the right to unionise and stage protests took effect on March 9, 2012 in Myanmar. According to the Associated Press, the law allows workers to form unions with a minimum of 30 members. Moreover, it permits workers to stage strikes if they give 14 days’ notice in advance and provide details of the strike, such as the number of participants and expected timeline. Furthermore, employers will be charged up to one year in jail and a fine of 100,000 kyat (US$125) if they dismiss workers for going on strike or joining unions. In the meantime, workers will face up to one year in jail and a fine of 30,000 kyat (US$38) if they stage a strike without abiding by the law.

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