Spain, with 1,108 euros for twelve payments (950 euros for fourteen), is placed as the eighth country with the highest Interprofessional Minimum Wage (SMI) among the 21 countries of the European Union that have this labor instrument. At the top is Luxembourg whose SMI is this year at 2,202 euros per month and Bulgaria closes the list with 332 euros for twelve payments. The community average is 1,002 euros, 106 euros below Spain, according to the calculations of Eurofund (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions), dependent on the European Commission (EC).
Spain is surpassed according to this ranking by the United Kingdom (1,765 euros) -outside the European Union-, Ireland (1,724 euros), the Netherlands (1,685 euros), Belgium (1,626 euros), Germany (1,610 euros), France (1,555 euros) and Slovenia (1,110 euros), two euros more than Spain.
Below Spain, in addition to the EU average, are Malta, Portugal, Greece -which is the only country whose SMI has decreased in the decade-, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Estonian, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Romania and Hungary. The rest, for example Italy, Denmark, Sweden or Finland, do not have regulated the obligation of an interprofessional minimum wage.
However, beyond the monetary figure established by each Government, the relevant comparison lies in the ratio that the SMI supposes with respect to the average salary of each country . Especially important, because the European Commission requires through a directive that Member States raise their minimum wages to 60% of their average wages in order to reduce income inequalities among their citizens.
But comparing the synergy of the SMI with 60% of the average salary in each country is a challenge because the nationalized data on average salaries is lagging behind. The last one carried out by Eurostat has been made with information from mid-2018, distorting the comparison especially in the case of Spain, since in 2018 the SMI was 735.9 euros and in just two years, it rose to 950 euros (164 , 1 euros in 2019 and 50 euros in 2020); that is, 214 euros, 29%.
Spain has increased it by 50% in the last ten years, 30% concentrated since 2019
According to the commission of experts formed by the Government to determine what the average salary is in Spain (there are similar data prepared by the INE), with 2020 figures the average salary would be 1,748 euros , so 60% are 1,049 euros . This means that the Government will have to raise 99 euros to fulfill, first, the mandate of the European Commission, and second, its programmatic coalition commitment, to raise the SMI to 60% of the average salary in this legislature.
Therefore, with the data from the expert commission, the coalition executive will have to raise the current SMI by 10.4% (950 euros in 14 payments or 1,108 in twelve months) in the maximum range calculated by the expert commission or in 6.4% at the minimum.
In theory, as the CCOO secretary general, Unai Sordo, recalled yesterday, the average salary established by the experts will have to be updated to the figures of 2023 when the final tranche remaining after the increases in 2021 and the one that is due is addressed. produce in January next year. However, today, with the conclusion of the expert commission, it can be concluded that the current SMI represents between 89.6% and 93.6% of the 60% of the average salary.
Unai Sordo recalls that the number of experts must be updated in 2023
In any case, well above the latest ratio calculated by Eurostat of 44%, clearly out of date after the strong rise of 30% since 2019. But according to this comparison from the Community Statistics office, Spain was in 2018 in the van of the tail of the countries with a greater gap between the SMI and the goal of 60% of the average wage. In that year, only Malta were below, since their minimum wage was equivalent to 43% of 60% of their average salary, and Estonia.
At that time, four countries would have already met the 60% obligation, as Eurostat calculated that France’s minimum wage was 66% of their median wage; Portugal at 64%, Slovenia 62% and Romania 61%. Below the limit, but bordering it, Bulgaria was then at 59%, Hungary 58%, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland at 57%, Ireland 53%, Germany and Slovakia 52%, Greece 51% and Belgium and Lithuania 50%.
Eurofund data show that the countries with the lowest SMIs are the ones that have made the greatest effort to increase. Comparing where the minimum wage was in 2010 and where in 2021, the highest increase, 232% occurred in Romania; in Lithuania 176% and in Bulgaria 170%. Spain increased it by 50% -37.6% in the EU average-, although of the 50% increase, 30% occurred since 2019.