As of 1 January 2018, 22 out of the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) have national minimum wages: only Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden do not have any.
According to Eurostat, in January 2018, Bulgaria had the lowest gross minimum wage (EUR 261) across the EU, followed by Lithuania (EUR 400) and Romania (EUR 408).
Seven Member States, all also located in the east of the EU, followed with minimum wages between EUR 400 and around EUR 500 per month: Latvia (EUR 430), Hungary (EUR 445), Croatia (EUR 462), the Czech Republic (EUR 478), Slovakia (EUR 480), Estonia (EUR 500) and Poland (EUR 503).
In five other Member States, located in the south of the EU, minimum wages ranged between EUR 600 and EUR 900 per month: Portugal (EUR 677), Greece (EUR 684), Malta (EUR 748), Slovenia (EUR 843) and Spain (EUR 859).
In the remaining seven Member States, all located in the west and north of the EU, minimum wages were above EUR 1,400 per month: the United Kingdom (EUR 1,401), Germany and France (both EUR 1,498), Belgium (EUR 1,563), the Netherlands (EUR 1,578), Ireland (EUR 1,614) and Luxembourg (EUR 1,999).
For comparison, the federal minimum wage in the United States was EUR 1,048 per month in January 2018.
The same data of the statistical office of the European Union show that across the 22 Member States concerned, the highest minimum wage in the EU was almost 8 times higher than the lowest.
However, the disparities in minimum wages across the EU Member States are considerably smaller once price level differences are eliminated: minimum wages in Member States with lower price levels become relatively higher when expressed in purchasing power standard (PPS), and relatively lower in Member States with higher price levels.
By eliminating price differences, minimum wages ranged from 546 PPS per month in Bulgaria to 1 597 PPS in Luxembourg, meaning that the highest minimum wage was almost 3 times higher than the lowest.