Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Minimum monthly salaries of EU countries

A minimum monthly salary is guaranteed by law in the majority of EU countries, and a few are currently in negotiation to establish a pay scale.

Keep in mind that salary itself is not an indicator of quality of living, as cost of living and basic access to public services can vary widely according to gender, nationality and personal preferences within one country. For example, people wrongly believe that cost of living is lower in Greece because salaries are lower; that is a falsehood. See, “Salary vs. cost and quality of living in the EU” to get a fuller picture.

To see information on current minimum wage, gross monthly salaries and average income for Greece as of 2011, see “Salaries in Greece.

There is no such thing as an EU minimum wage. The EU is composed of 28 individual member states or countries as of 2013, and each country has its own set of rules and regulations.

*Article last updated July 1, 2013

How the table was compiled

The Kathimerini ran an article that stated the minimum gross salary for Greece was 626 euros*, but it gave no source and I could not verify this data independently. It also stated that the EU average was 1160 euros, although it’s clear that this only applies to the so-called “Big 15” and does not reflect an average for (the then) 27 member states, as it would be considerably lower if it did.

Eurostat publishes stats every June for all countries that have a lawful minimum wage, so these are from 2007. The Federation of European Employers also provides stats on minimum monthly income on the most recent figures made available, ranging from 2007 to 2008. The table contains data from both organizations for comparison purposes. Neither organization took black market wages and illegal work into account.

*As of July 1, 2011, the minimum gross wage for workers in Greece aged under 25 is 591.60 euros/month. See more information at “Salaries in Greece.”

How to read the table

Countries without a legal minimum wage are marked with an asterisk (*), and a monthly estimate is given based on sources embedded as a link, along with an explanation. These countries customarily negotiate collective agreements by sector on an annual basis, which unions must approve.

All figures are in gross, arranged in ascending order according to group and scaled to 12 months to calculate a monthly wage. For example, Eurostat and FedEE took into account that workers in Austria, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and Italy receive 14-16 payments per year and made calculations accordingly.

Please note that this is not an analysis, however there are other sources listed at the end of this post should you be interested.

Minimum monthly salaries of EU member states

Country Eurostat FedEE Note
The “Big 15”
1. Denmark * Monthly estimate based on basic sick benefits paid by the state; a rate of 27.89/hr is gross before significant social taxes are deducted, causing Denmark to fall in rank to levels recorded in Belgium and Netherlands.
2. Luxembourg 1570 1570 The only country to record consistent figures.
3. Ireland 1403 1499
4. Sweden * 1382 Estimate based on minimum income required for a work permit, according to the Swedish Migration Board.
5. UK 1361 1381
6. Netherlands 1301 1317
7. Germany * 1277 Monthly estimate reflects average between unofficial figures from east Germany at 1076 and west Germany at 1476; a proposed rate of 1250 is on the table.
8. Belgium 1258 1283
9. France 1254 1280
10. Finland * The Ministry of Labor in Finland reports the country ranks 10th, but quotes no figures.
EU Average of Big 15 1160
11. Austria
1000 The trade union agreed on this figure starting January 1, 2008, and all workers will be raised to this rate by January 1, 2009.
12. Italy * 866 Figure reflects unofficial rate of 5 euros/hour for Italian workers.
13. Spain 666 600
14. Greece 668
657 Data for Greece appears higher than Spain, however Eurostat reports that 668 is inaccurate; I could not verify the 626 figure, and 657 appears to be an average between blue/white collar workers. Spain always ranks slightly above Greece, and GR always ranks higher than Portugal (i.e.Economist, Kathimerini).
15. Portugal 470 426
Newer members
16. Malta 585 617
17. Slovenia 522 538
18. Cyprus 409 741
19. Czech Republic 288 303
20. Hungary 258 271
21. Poland 246 311
22. Estonia 230 278
23. Slovakia 217 241
24. Lithuania 174 303
25. Latvia 172 227
26. Romania 114 140
27. Bulgaria 92 112

*Croatia is an EU member state as of July 1, 2013 and was not included in this 2008 comparison.

Related Posts

Examples of jobs and salaries in Athens, Greece
Cost of Living in Greece

Other Sources

Cost of Living Hits European High in Greece, especially food items” — Kathimerini (published May 17, after my article was plagiarized on May 3)
Greece: Largest percentage of working poor” – Kathimerini
“Methodology for 2007 Income and Living Conditions” (link broken) — Eurostat
Greece: Second poorest in EU 15, with 23 percent living in poverty – Kathimerini
Highest share of low wage earners in job market: UK, Germany, Ireland, Greece and Netherlands – Metis Europe (story removed from website)
Greece: Welfare policy worst in EU” – Kathimerini
Income and Living Conditions” – Eurostat
Minimum Social Standards Across Europe 2006” – European Anti-Poverty Network
Η λήξη συμβάσεων φέρνει νέα εποχή στα μισθολογικά” — Naftemporiki


  dealsend wrote @ April 4th, 2008 at 10:28

You know what it would be more interesting? To compare the salaries with the cost of living for each country, if I remember correct Greece comes just under UK (which is the most expensive).

Great article though! Great work as always Cat

Kat Reply:

There’s not a lot of room to expand the table, however I’ll provide a link in the interim and see if I can work in your suggestion. Anyone can republish the information, as long as the source (me/this site) is listed, much like I always reference my sources.

  melusina wrote @ April 4th, 2008 at 15:05

You don’t realize how bad things are until you see the actual numbers. Anything under 1000 is completely shocking, but those last few countries on the list blow my mind. I realize things probably aren’t as expensive there, but these are supposed to be EU countries!

Things have to get better worldwide.

  graffic wrote @ April 5th, 2008 at 13:27

I won’t consider the minimum salary as a sign of wealth in countries where laws are not enforced.

I mean, Why is that number so important if, in the end, the companies will pay you what they want? And moreover, you cannot do anything to fight your money back and you accept it.

In Spain the minimum salary is a political “object”. All political parties argue about it, it’s important during the elections. But if you have a problem with getting the minimum amount, it will take you more than the minimum salary to be able to enforce it.

  Alejandro Aumaitre wrote @ April 8th, 2008 at 00:17

Hi Kat!

Well, based on your experience… Could someone live with the minimun salary of 700 euros a month? I mean, pay for a lease, transport, groceries, utilities… you know the basic for a living?


  Kat wrote @ April 8th, 2008 at 21:01

AA – If you’re paying your own rent and are OK with public transport, never going out and economizing with food, there’s no way you can make it on the minimum unless you’re sharing expenses with someone else (spouse/friend/roommate). There are cost of living and other articles under ‘Economy’ that you can view. Graf said it very well on one of his comments about living on one’s own. Say your rent is 400 (very conservative, I assure you), kinokrista (common expenses shared by tenants) 15-90 euros, 100+ euros for petrol in winter, a bus/metro pass is 35 euros, there’s 100-150 for food, and then add electricity (maybe 25-75), water (10), cell phone (mostly sms, urgent calls – 25-30). That’s more than 700 euros even if you only use the minimum figures. For 7 years, DSL/land line was a luxury I could not afford.

And if you’re a non-EU citizen, there are a ton of bureaucratic fees at nearly every turn.

To all – This is a chart of minimum salaries by law. It’s not a comparison of cost or quality or wealth. It’s also not an analysis and, like I said, doesn’t take into account tax dodging, illegal work, black market, inheritance, land grabbing, corruption, blah blah. And it has nothing to do with the U.S.

[…] salarii si ce caracteristici, in functie de tara, au fost luate in considerare, gasiti aici si aici. Informatii despre cresterea salariala din UE gasiti pe aceasta pagina. Posted in Sfaturi […]

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