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Long road ahead for minimum national wage

November 25, 2018 at 9:13am
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Cyprus is one of six EU member states which do not have a national minimum wage.

Currently only nine professions in Cyprus are protected by a minimum wage which is set by Labour Ministry decree.

Three opposition parties want this replaced by national legislation which will cover all employees and have submitted bills to this effect in the House Labour Committee.

The government commissioned studies which will be ready in March so that it can start planning a national minimum wage in November.

But the Labour Ministry says a number of factors need first be taken into consideration and adds that a national minimum wage can only be introduced when unemployment is under 5%. It currently stands at around 7.4%.

Currently a minimum wage applies to the following professions: clerks, nursing assistants, kindergarten and nursery schools assistants, school aides and carers. It starts at €870 gross a month and rises to €924 after six months. Security guards receive an hourly minimum wage of €4.90 which after six months of employment at the same employer must rise to €5.20 an hour. Cleaners must receive a starting minimum hourly wage of at least €4.55 which rises to €4.84 an hour after six months. The minimum wage has remained the same since 2012.

Of the 28 EU member states, 22 have a minimum wage. In 10 it stands at under €500, in five it ranges from €600 to €900 and in the remaining seven it is over €1,400 as follows:.

  • Bulgaria: €261, Lithuania: €400, Romania: €408, Latvia: €430, Hungary: €445, Croatia: €462, Czech Republic: €478, Slovakia: €480, Estonia: €500 and Poland: €503.
  • Portugal: €677, Greece: €684, Malta: €748, Slovenia: €843 and Spain: €859.
  • UK: €1,401, Germany: €1.498, France: €1,498, Belgium: €1,563, Netherlands: €1,578, Ireland: €1,614 and Luxembourg: €1,999.

There is no national minimum wage in Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland and wages are set by collective agreement.

EU Commission president Jean Claude Juncker has voiced support for a single EU minimum wage but this has received little support from member states which argue that minimum wages should reflect the economic reality of each country.

The Cyprus government believes that its plans for a minimum wage in all professions will lead to a fairer distribution of the GDP.

Trade unions want legislation obliging employers to implement collective agreements, alternatively they fear the a minimum wage will undermine them.

Employers oppose a national minimum wage being set by law.

 

Studies underway on national minimum wage