If you ever wanted to know what the minimum salary in the European Union countries is in 2020, you’re at the right place. I had the same question as well and I decided to investigate things thoroughly and share they results with you in this article.
The main reason why I like to check out the minimum wage in a country before visiting (or considering to relocate there or live longer there) is that at least in theory, it should be enough to provide you with the minimum amount of money needed to survive.
In reality, things are a bit different, but the idea is that a country’s cost of living is much lower if the minimum wage is 100 Euros per month, while one with a 1,000 Euro minimum wage is way more expensive.
For a better understanding of how much is enough to live in a specific country, I have written an article on the average wages in the EU so you should check that out as well if interested.
Now, back to the minimum wage in the EU, it’s worth noting that I started tracking these values in 2019, when I initially published this article. And it’s interesting to see that now, in 2020, the minimum wage in most countries in Europe has increased quite a bit.
Even better, the countries that recorded the highest increases in the minimum salary numbers are the ones towards the bottom – further meaning that the differences between the first and last placed in terms of income are no longer as huge as they were (but still high).
Even more, the European Union started talks this year about introducing a minimum wage throughout the entire union, but with variations as high as those you will see below, it’s pretty difficult to implement them right now. But if that happens, this article will be a lot easier to write in the future.
I say that because actually gathering all the data when so many countries are involved was a bit more difficult than anticipated. This is made even more difficult by the fact that not all countries in the European Union have an official minimum wage set by the government.
This is the case of countries like Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden – there is not minimum wage set here by the law, so I had to use estimates for these countries, following research I’ve done on places like Reddit, forums and friends I know living in some of these countries.
Also, the minimum wages are changing constantly in the European Union countries in order to keep up with inflation and economic growth, but these values are researched and correct (in my opinion) for 2020.
Have in mind that the numbers below are all in Euros and are, to my best knowledge, net salary values (so the money you earn and get to use, not the amount that the employer pays).
Also, not all countries in the EU are using the Euro, so these estimates might vary a bit in reality when currency exchange fluctuations are in effect. But overall, these values should be as close to reality as possible!
Now, with all these in mind, let’s check out below the minimum salaries in the European Union (per month), ranked from the highest to the lowest:
1. Luxembourg: €1,765
2. Denmark: €1,600
3. Sweden: €1,550
4. Ireland: €1,550 (they actually have a hourly wage set at 10.10 Eur/hour starting Feb. 2020)
5. Finland: €1,500
6. Netherlands: €1,450
7. France: €1,400
8. United Kingdom: €1,280 (they’re still an EU member when writing this)
9. Belgium: €1,215 (varies based on regions – higher in Brussels & Wallonia and lower in Flanders)
10. Germany: €1,175
11. Austria: €1,050
12. Spain: €950
13. Italy: €900
14. Cyprus: €800
15. Greece: €650
16. Portugal: €635
17. Slovenia: €620
18. Malta: €570
19. Estonia: €550
20. Czechia: €470
21. Slovakia: €460
22. Croatia: €437
23. Lithuania: €435
24. Poland: €400
25. Latvia: €370
26. Hungary: €360
27. Romania: €280
28. Bulgaria: €250
Now, if we want to see what the average salary across the European Union, after doing the math we have this value:
Average minimum salary in European Union: 825 Euros per month
It’s interesting to note that just 13 countries of the 28 earn more than the average salary throughout the union, making it even more difficult (in my opinion) for all countries to agree upon a minimum that would be the same in all countries.
However, this number is just for fun, as it doesn’t really have any value when the lowest minimum salary (Bulgaria) is 7 times lower than the maximum minimum salary (Luxembourg).
However, knowing the minimum values that I have listed above should be extremely helpful in showing which countries are the cheapest to live in the European Union and where you can expect to earn more for the same amount of work.
This also does not mean that you would be able to live comfortably in Bulgaria with a budget of 250 Euros per month, nor in Czechia on 500 Euros.
However, as we go up the list, things get a bit easier: for example living in France on a minimum salary gives you a better life than earning the minimum in the bottom 10 countries. The 950 Euros per month in Spain or the 900 Euros per month in Italy could also see you live a relatively decent life as well.
What I am trying to say is that there are many things to consider when it comes to minimum salary in the EU and cost of living and these absolutely minimum values should be looked at considering the big picture and estimates.
But it is obvious that traveling to or moving to Poland, Hungary or Romania (or any of the countries towards the bottom) is a lot cheaper than visiting or moving to Luxembourg, Denmark or any of the top ranked ones.
Now these would be the minimum salaries in the countries in the European Union. If you live in one of these countries and you notice that the actual values that I have quoted are wrong, please let me know so that I can correct them ASAP.