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Bitter Croatian reality: One out of every 17 workers is receiving the minimum wage

Zagreb, 14 October 2014 (www.novilist.hr) - Every seventeenth worker in Croatia works for a minimum wage, or a gross wage that is lower than 3,017.16 Kuna. With an average local tax of 12%, a worker with a minimum wage in the end receives less than 2,385.00 Kuna. Furthermore, based on the data from the Tax Office for the first seven months of this year, on average 78,822 workers was receiving income on the level of the legal minimum wage or less.. Moreover, in the first three months of this year, the highest number of workers whose employers stated the minimum wage or a wage lower than a minimum one was recorded. In January, the number of such workers was 80,400; in February, the number was increased by 6,000 workers, while in March 81,400 workers received minimum wage or even less. In April, the number of workers with minimum wage or wage less than a minimum dropped at 76,500 workers; in May and June, it rose to 79,200, while in July, it decreased to 70,900 workers.

According to the Minimum wage Act, the minimum wage could be exceptionally set at a level that can be 5% lower than the prescribed one, but only through the collective agreement. According to the Tax Office’s data, the reduced minimum wage is received by 32,000 out of 78,800 workers who receive the legal minimum wage.

The Ministry of Labour and Pension System has begun negotiating with trade unions and the employers’ association regarding the minimum wage for the next year. According to the formula used for calculating the minimum wage, it should not grow. However, trade unions demand its growth, emphasizing their desire for the minimum wage to reach 50% of the country’s average wage. Therefore, the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia has requested the corresponding Ministry to increase the gross amount of the minimum wage by 100 Kuna. On the other hand, the Independent Trade Unions of Croatia warned that the minimum wage for this year was miscalculated and that, according to legal parameters, it should be 20 Kuna higher. The employers’ association opposes any request for a higher minimum wage.