Top 5: which countries are paying the highest minimum wage in Europe?

Thanks to long traditions of labour movements and rights, minimum wages in Europe are some of the highest in the world. We count down the best-paying countries in the continent

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Minimum wages in Europe look positively generous compared to other developed regions. The Netherlands has not only the highest standard minimum wages in Europe, but in the world

European countries have some of the highest standard minimum wages in the world thanks to long traditions of labour movements and rights. Compared to other developed regions, like the US, even countries with relatively modest minimum wage provisions look positively generous. Though the Netherlands has the highest official minimum wage levels, it is likely Scandinavian worker’s are paid more on average, as those countries do not have standardised hourly rates of pay for workers.

1. The Netherlands

The Netherlands has the highest standard minimum wages in Europe, and the world. However, the country has a complicated two-tiered system, and only workers aged 23 and above qualify for the higher €66.77 a day mandated by law.

2. Luxembourg

Minimum wage structures in Luxembourg take into account workers’ experience, age and maturity, however, the standard minimum wage for those over 18 starts at €1,801.49 per month, going up to €2,161.79 if workers are considered skilled.

3. Ireland

Though the country has been struggling to recover from a devastating crisis, hourly minimum wages have remained high, at €8.65 an hour. However, they have not been readjusted since 2007, so in real terms they have actually gone down, when inflation is accounted for.

4. Belgium

Minimum wage laws did not exist in Belgium until 2012, and now they only cover workers aged 21 and over. Between the ages of 21 and 22, workers’ wages increase from €1,501.82 to €1,559,28 per month, provided they remain employed during that year.

5. UK

Minimum wages were increased in the UK in 2011; workers aged over 21 years are paid £6.19 an hour, while those aged 18 to 21 are paid £5.98 per hour. Workers under the age of 18 are also guaranteed a minimum wage of £3.68 an hour provided they have completed compulsory education.