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
|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.|
|4. Sweden *||1382||–||Estimate based on minimum income required for a work permit, according to the Swedish Migration Board.|
|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.|
|10. Finland *||–||–||The Ministry of Labor in Finland reports the country ranks 10th, but quotes no figures.|
|EU Average of Big 15||1160|
||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.|
|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).|
|19. Czech Republic||288||303|
*Croatia is an EU member state as of July 1, 2013 and was not included in this 2008 comparison.
“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