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In summary: According to experts, the minimum decent wage is almost 46,000. What does it mean

Experts calculated the minimum decent wage for last year at almost 46 thousand crowns, in Prague it was even almost 48 thousand. This is a different category than the minimum or average wage, and two-thirds of Czechs do not reach it. The diary provides an overview of basic information.

Experts calculated the minimum decent wage for last year at almost 46 thousand crowns, in Prague it was even almost 48 thousand. illustrative photo

| Photo: Shutterstock

What is minimum living wage?
It is an indicator of how a person working in the main employment relationship (with a break of 8.5 hours a day) can live according to current prices in such a way as to cover the costs of food and housing, clothing, transport, health care, education and leisure time. And at the same time so that he has something left for savings in case of unexpected circumstances. “So that it’s not just bare survival,” pointed out political scientist Kateřina Smejkalová. Experts from the Platform for a Minimum Decent Wage calculated the amount for one person who takes care of a child or other dependent person.

Illustrative image

Changes to the minimum wage: The government approved its regular valorization

What was the minimum living wage last year?
For last year, Czech experts calculated the amount at 45,573 crowns gross, in Prague 47,718 crowns. It is 4,661 crowns (4,942 in Prague) more than in 2022. “We are behind an exceptional period of extreme inflation associated with economic decline. For low-wage workers, the living wage line has moved even further. The costs grew more than their nominal wages,” said economist Jan Bittner.

According to him, the increase in prices was concentrated in areas that typically affect low-income residents more – housing and food. “In addition, 184,000 employees fell below the threshold of a decent wage year-on-year,” added the economist. Last year, 67 percent of employees (57 percent of men and 71 percent of women) did not receive a decent minimum wage, in Prague 52 percent. The average wage last year was 43,341 crowns, the minimum wage was 17,300 crowns (this year 18,900 crowns).

Minimum living wage 2023

CZK 45,573 nationwide, CZK 47,718 in Prague.

Of which expenses:

  • For housing: 14,713 CZK (16,133 CZK in Prague)
  • For groceries: CZK 8,194 (CZK 8,442 in Prague)
  • Clothes + shoes: CZK 1,460
  • Shipping: CZK 1,946
  • Health and hygiene: CZK 1,348
  • Telecommunications: CZK 1,446
  • Free time: CZK 3,774
  • Savings: CZK 4,597

Source: A platform for a minimum living wage

According to economist Štěpán Křeček, who is not a member of the platform, this is a theoretical calculation. “It is not completely based in economic theory, it is rather a set of opinions of the authors, how life should look like, how much we should spend on individual items. People may have slightly different preferences. But for orientation, it is good that something like this regularly arises. We should aim for the goal that everyone who goes to work, strives and contributes to the development of society, is evaluated in such a way that they can live, dress, commute to work, have cultural or other leisure activities,” he commented.

How is it with individual professions?
Below the threshold of minimal decent wages last year most often, 93 percent, were bricklayers, stovemen, tilers and installers of dry constructions. 92 percent are professional social workers and workers in social services working in residential care. “Some colleagues have to add part-time jobs to their already demanding work in order to make ends meet,” noted Alice Tereza Táborská, a worker in social services and vice-president of the trade union. According to her, others even have to apply for a housing allowance or other benefits due to insufficient income.

Last year, not even 80 percent of plumbers, pipe fitters, construction locksmiths, and construction plumbers, 70 percent of professional workers at employment offices, or 45 percent of journalists received a decent wage.

Experts have calculated the decent minimum wage for this year at almost forty-one thousand crowns.  This is a different category than the minimum wage, and in our country not even half of the employees reach it

The living wage is 23,000 higher than the minimum wage. Few people can reach her

What is the opinion of the economist outside the platform?
According to BH Securities Chief Economist Štěpán Křeček, who also acts as an advisor to Prime Minister Petr Fiala, the fact that the vast majority of the Czech population receives less than the calculated minimum decent wage points to a long-term problem. “Wages in the Czech Republic are relatively low compared to Western Europe. It would be good if we increased labor productivity so that we would be able to increase the added value of our products and, thanks to this, gradually increase wages as well,” he told Deník.

According to him, the Czech Republic could return to real wage growth thanks to the taming of inflation, which has already been done. But it will take several years for wages to return to pre-inflation levels.

How can wages be increased?

According to experts from Platforma pro minimum living wage wages can be gradually increased by strengthening available public services, collective bargaining between unions and employers (the average wage in 2022 was 46,899 crowns for employees with a collective agreement, 40,189 crowns without a collective agreement) or by increasing wages in the public sector.

Economist Štěpán Křeček, who is not a member of the aforementioned platform, stated that the Czech Republic has long been one of the countries with the lowest level of unemployment not only in Europe. “This should create an undergrowth for wage growth. When people find better paying jobs, they should not be afraid to transfer. But I see the problem mainly in the Labor Code, which, although it significantly protects employees, reduces labor mobility on the labor market,” he noted.

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