Czech Republic Has Toughest Minimum Wage

Czechs making minimum wage need to work 79 hours per week to stay above poverty level

According to a new report by the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), workers in the Czech Republic making minimum wage will have to work the most hours of any OECD country to stay above their country’s poverty level.

The OECD is an international economic organization made of 34 countries; of those, 26 have implemented a legal minimum wage (nine countries, including the Czech Republic, have introduced minimum wage requirements since 1990).

The minimum wage in the Czech Republic is currently 55 CZK per hour, or roughly 2 EUR, and 8000 CZK per month (96,000 CZK per year). This isn’t the lowest minimum wage among OECD countries: Hungary, Estonia, Chile, Latvia, and Mexico each have lower minimum wages than the Czech Republic. 

Australia rates the highest minimum wage among OECD countries at 16.87 AUD, or roughly 12 EUR.

The Czech Republic does, however, have the lowest Minimum Wage Levels, defined as the lowest minimum wage relative to a country’s average wage, among OECD countries.

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Minimum Wage Levels, pre-crisis and 2013:

Source: OECD
Source: OECD

Based on percentage of the median wage, Czech Republic ranks slightly behind Mexico, the United States, Estonia, and Japan. Among those countries, the Czech Republic is the only one that has seen a decrease in minimum wage levels since 2007.

Factoring in social benefits for low-income families, the Czech Republic also has the lowest minimum wage relative to the country’s poverty level, measured at 50% of the median net household income. By a large margin.

Weekly working hours needed at minimum wage to move above the poverty line:

Source: OECD
Source: OECD

A single parent with two children will have to work 79 hours per week to stay above the poverty level in the Czech Republic. That’s roughly 20 more hours than next-lowest countries Estonia, Korea, Greece, and Spain.

Australia and Ireland rate highest here: a single parent with two children will need to work less than 10 hours per week to stay above their country’s poverty line. 

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You can see the OECD’s full report in PDF at this link.

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