Under Poland’s previous conservative government, the minimum wage soared higher, according to new data from the EU agency Eurofund.
According to data for the EU, Poland had the highest increase in the minimum wage in 2023 (21.5 percent) while inflation in the country has now come down to 6.2 percent. The minimum monthly wage at the beginning of 2024 increased in Poland to 4,242 zlotys (€986).
Second was Croatia, which witnessed a rise of 20 percent, with inflation kept at 5.4 percent, resulting in a minimum monthly wage of €840. In third was Bulgaria, with a 19.6 percent rise in the minimum wage and an inflation rate of 5 percent.
The lowest rises in the minimum wage came in Belgium (2 percent with inflation running at 0.5 percent), France (3.4 percent against an inflation rate of 4.1 percent) and Germany (3.4 percent with inflation at 3.8 percent).
The rise in the minimum wage in these Western countries was much lower than in Central and Eastern European member states, although the minimum wage is still much higher in the West. In Belgium, the monthly minimum wage was €1,994, and in France, it was €1,767.
The agency also forecasts that 2024 will see a reversal of the downward trend in the minimum wage, which took place in 2023 in many EU countries. According to EU forecasts, most countries will see increases higher than the rate of inflation.
The rise in the minimum wage is also forecast to exceed the rate of inflation to a greater extent than in other income groups, leading to Eurofund projecting that pay differentials will be lower than before.