In the framework of the project „TAP Together Against Poverty” economic and social aspects of poverty and social exclusion were analyzed. One of the elements was the analysis of minimum wage rates in selected EU countries.

Six countries, including Estonia, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Italy [1], were examined within the project. The analysis was based on EUROSTAT database for years 2004-2015, taken on the 1st of January of a given year. In countries selected an evident spread between minimum wage rates could easily be noticed (Graph 1). The highest rate of minimum wage was recorded in the Netherlands and in a given period of time averaged at 1,4 thousand EUR. The lowest rate recorded was in Romania, where only in the last two years it came to 200 EUR. What is worth noticing is that an average wage in selected countries is two to three times higher than minimum wage.

Graph 1. Minimum wage for years 2004 2015 in selected EU countries


Some of the households belong to the group of households characterized by low or even very low work intensity, which may result in very low incomes. In this respect, having children is a conductive factor, though it is not a general rule. In case of a really low work intensity, it is more frequent in households with no children (Table 1).

Table 1. Households with low or very low work intensity (in %)


Country of residence households with children households without children
very low low very low low
Estonia 2,2 2,9 4,6 1,8
Spain 5,2 5,0 7,2 4,2
The Netherland 1,9 2,0 5,8 2,3
Poland 1,9 4,5 5,5 3,3
Romania 1,9 4,2 4,0 1,9
Italy 3,4 4,7 3,5 3,6

Source: EUROSTAT, figures for 2013

The total percentage of households characterized by low or very low work intensity, having children or not in Estonia amounted to 11,5%. In Spain it was as much as 21,6%. In the Netherlands it was lower almost by half and amounted to 12%, similar to Romania. In Poland and Italy it was 15,2%.


[1] The statistics do not record minimum wage in Italy.