In January 2006, eighteen of the 25 Member States of the EU had national legislation setting statutory minimum wages. The level at which these were set varied widely, from 129 euro per month in Latvia to 1 503 euro per month in Luxembourg. It should be noted that the proportion of employees receiving the minimum wage also differs greatly between Member States, ranging from less than 1% in Spain to 18% in Luxembourg. These figures are published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities.
From 130 euro per month in Latvia to 1 500 euro in Luxembourg
Looking at the level of the minimum wage in euro, Member States fell into three broad groups. In Latvia (129), Lithuania (159), Slovakia (183), Estonia (192), Poland (234), Hungary (247) and the Czech Republic (261), minimum wages were below 300 euro per month in January 2006. Portugal (437), Slovenia (512), Malta (580), Spain (631) and Greece (668) fell into a middle group, with minimum wages of between 400 and 700 euro per month. In France (1 218), Belgium (1 234), the United Kingdom (1 269), the Netherlands (1 273), Ireland (1 293) and Luxembourg (1 503) minimum wages were over 1 200 euro per month.
For comparison, the federal minimum wage in the USA was 753 euro per month in January 2006.
When adjusted to take into account differences in purchasing power, the disparities between the Member States were reduced from a range of one to eleven (in euro), to a range of one to six (in PPS3): Luxembourg (1 417 PPS per month) remaining the highest, and Latvia (240) the lowest.
The proportion of employees on minimum wages in 2004 was lowest in Spain (0.8%), the United Kingdom (1.4%), Malta (1.5%), Slovakia (1.9%), the Czech Republic and Slovenia (both 2.0%), and highest in Luxembourg (18.0%), France (15.6%), Lithuania (12.1%) and Hungary (8.0%).
In the USA, 1.4% of employees received the minimum wage.