With an income of €762, Malta’s national minimum wage is below the European Union average, Eurostat data has revealed.

As of this year, 22 out of the 28 member states of the European Union have national minimum wages, Eurostat said. Only Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden do not have a set minimum wage, the EU data bureau added.

According to the data submitted by the 22 countries last month, the average minimum wage across the European Union was €924 – a far cry from the €762 earned by minimum wage earners in Malta.

By the end of last month, Bulgaria had the lowest gross minimum wage across the EU – just €286. Eastern European member states had minimum wages between €400 and €600 per month.

€762 earned by minimum wage earners in Malta

Southern European member states, including Malta, Greece, Portugal and Spain, all had minimum wages ranging between €650 and just over €1,000 per month. Malta fared better than Greece and Portugal, but worse than Slovenia and Spain.

In the remaining seven member states, all located in the west and north of the EU, minimum wages were above €1,450 per month: the United Kingdom (€1,453), France (€1,521), Germany (€1,557), Belgium (€1,594), the Netherlands (€1,616), Ireland (€1,656) and Luxembourg (€2,071).

Across the 22 member states, the highest minimum wage in the EU was more than seven times higher than the lowest, Eurostat said.

In 2017, an agreement was signed by unions, social partners and political leaders to increase the minimum wage by €8 per week. That year, just under 4,000 people were on the minimum wage.

NGO Moviment Graffiti had noted the increase would only kick in once workers completed two years of employment, meaning it did not really raise the statutory minimum.

Back in 2012, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had called for the introduction of a “living wage” – a calculation of how much money a person needs to live a decent life – that would be significantly higher than the current minimum wage of €158 per week. Dr Muscat had later said it was “irresponsible” to raise the minimum wage.

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