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Which countries in Europe have the highest minimum wage

Working abroad: which countries in Europe have the highest minimum wage?

The three countries in Europe with the highest minimum wage in 2022 are Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. If you were to list the top 10 countries with the highest minimum wage in the world, seven of those would be in Europe. 

However, the concept of a minimum wage first originated on the other side of the globe. New Zealand was the groundbreaker in implementing a minimum wage law, doing so in 1894, in an attempt to raise the average income of unskilled workers. 

If you plan to move to Europe to live and work, it’s a good idea to be aware of how much you can expect to earn. It’s also good to be aware that CurrencyFair lets you send and receive money within Europe at exchange rates that are up to eight times cheaper than the banks, saving you money when it’s time to transfer your savings or purchase property abroad.

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National minimum wage per hour (highest available for adults, calculated based on the legal working week, which varies from 36–48 hours per country)

Minimum wage per month (varies between 12–14 payments a year depending on the country)










United Kingdom

































Figures accurate as of July 2022.


What is the minimum wage in Europe? 

A minimum wage is the lowest wage per hour that's allowed by law or special agreement, and it varies all over the world. Most countries across Europe, except for ​​Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, enforce a national minimum wage. 

In Cyprus, minimum wages are set by the government for specific occupations. In Denmark, Italy, Austria, Finland and Sweden, as well as in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, minimum wages are laid down by collective agreements for a range of specific sectors. 

The countries with the highest minimum wages in Europe also tend to have strong social support programs, with the intention of allowing workers of all skill levels to work and live without being impoverished.  Below, we cover which countries have the highest national minimum wage in Europe in 2022, how often they’re updated, and other information for anyone interested in working in Europe.

 Check out our guide to international money transfers for more on how to save money when you’re transferring money abroad.


What is the minimum wage in Luxembourg in 2022?

Luxembourg has the highest minimum wage in Europe. As of July 2022, it was €13.05 per hour, or €2,256.95 per month, for all workers aged 18 or older. For skilled workers, it goes up to €15.66 per hour, or €2,708.35 per month.

The minimum wage in Luxembourg is adjusted every two years in line with the evolution of Luxembourg’s cost of living. Meaning if the consumer price index rises by a certain percentage, the government of Luxembourg adjusts salaries by the same percentage. It was last updated in October 2021.

For adolescent workers, aged 17–18 years old, it's €10.44 per hour and for those aged 15–17 years old, it’s ​​€9.78 per hour. To be considered a skilled worker, and entitled to the higher minimum wage in Luxembourg, the employee must have at least one of the following: 

  • A recognised official certificate equivalent to a vocational skills certificate.

  • A vocational diploma from a Luxembourg technical secondary school.

  • A manual skills certificate.

  • A certificate of vocational ability and proof of at least two years of experience in the trade in question.

  • A preliminary technical and vocational certificate and proof of at least five years of practical experience in the trade or profession.

  • In the absence of a certificate, proof of at least 10 years practical professional experience (if a certificate exists for the required qualification).

  • Proof of at least six years practical experience in a trade or profession which requires certain technical skills and where no official certificate is issued after vocational training.


What is the minimum wage in the Netherlands in 2022?

The Netherlands has the second-highest minimum wage in Europe, and adjusts it twice a year in line with changes in average collectively agreed wages in the Netherlands. As of July 2022, the minimum wage for an adult aged 21 or older is €1,756.20 per month. If you need to send money to or from the Netherlands, check out our comparison of money transfer companies available in the region to get the best rates. 

The minimum wage in the Netherlands starts for workers aged 15 and has a yearly increase until the employee has reached 21 years of age and older. It’s set as a monthly rate rather than an hourly wage as “the number of hours in a working week can differ from one business to another”, and generally ranges from 36 to 40 hours a week. 

However, the Netherlands government has provided guidance for the hourly minimum wage as an indicative resource. The table below shows the gross hourly wage for each age group as of 1 July 2022:


Source: The government of the Netherlands.


What is the minimum wage in Belgium in 2022?

Belgium has the third-highest minimum wage in Europe as of 2022, at €11.19 per hour. Called the “Revenu Minimum Mensuel Moyen Garanti” (RMMMG), the national minimum wage in Belgium was last updated in May 2022 to €1,842.28 per month for all workers ages 18 and older, but certain industries also have their own set minimum wages. 

Belgium has a set legal working week of 38 hours for most occupations. However, exceptions of up to 11 hours per day and 50 hours per week are provided for certain industries. Based on a 38-hour work week, €1,842.28 per month minimum wage equates to €11.19 per hour.

The minimum wage in Belgium is decided both at a government level and through collective agreements by individual industries within their sectors. Expats planning on moving to Belgium should be aware of this, as based on the individual agreements, the exact minimum wage for your position can differ based on your role, where the job is based, your experience and the hours you work per week. But it can never be lower than the RMMMG.


What is the minimum wage in the United Kingdom in 2022?

The United Kingdom (UK) is the only sovereign country to have left the European Union (EU), but it's still a part of Europe. The minimum wage in the UK is £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over, and it’s updated once a year on 1 April. There are some exceptions for workers that aren't entitled to the minimum wage, such as self-employed workers, volunteers, and more. The rates for younger workers are as follows: 

  • Aged 21 to 22: £9.18 per hour.

  • Aged 18 to 20: £6.83 per hour.

  • Aged under 18: £4.81 per hour.

Almost all workers are entitled to the National Minimum Wage in the UK, including foreign workers who have moved to the UK, and workers over the age of 23 are entitled to the National Living Wage. Apprentices are paid £4.81per hour, they're entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship. 

The UK has a 48-hour work week, but workers over the age of 18 can choose to opt-out of this requirement to work more hours if they wish. For a 48-hour work week, £9.50 equates to £1,976 per month. As of July 2022, this equates to about €11.20 per hour or €2,330.50 per month. But as currency exchange rates fluctuate it's better to confirm the rate using CurrencyFair’s exchange rate calculator


What is the minimum wage in France in 2022?

France has the fifth-highest minimum wage in Europe in 2022, at €10.85 per hour. Although it has a higher hourly rate than some of the countries on this list, it also has a legal working week of 35 hours, which equates to a monthly minimum wage of €1,645.58. France’s 35-hour work week and minimum five weeks of paid vacation combine to make it one of our top nine countries with the best work-life balance, and why many are tempted to move to the French countryside.

The French minimum wage, known as “Salaire Moyen Interprofessionnel de Croissance” (SMIC) in France, is covered under French Labour Law and is adjusted every year on 1 January. However, certain groups aren't entitled to the full national minimum wage, including:

  • Employees under 16 years old with less than six months of professional experience - they can be paid 80% of the legal minimum wage, which is €8.68 per hour as of 2022. 

  • Employees between 17 and 18 years of age, with professional experience - they can be paid 90% of the minimum wage.

  • Apprentices can receive anything between 27% and 100% of the minimum wage, depending on their age and level of experience.


What is the minimum wage in Ireland in 2022?

Ireland last updated its minimum wage in January 2022 to €10.50 per hour for adult skilled workers (classified as someone aged 20 years or older), with some exclusions. While it doesn’t offer a set monthly minimum wage, taking into account the 40-hour work week in Ireland, the minimum wage works out to be €1,820 per month.

For adolescent workers that are younger than 18 years of age, it's €7.35 per hour, which goes up to €8.40 per hour at age 18, and €9.45 per hour at age 19. Certain categories of employees are excluded from the national minimum wage in Ireland, including:

  • Employees who are close relatives of the employer, where the employer is a sole trader.

  • A craft apprentice within the meaning of the Industrial Training Act, 1967, or the Labour of Services Act, 1987.


What is the minimum wage in Germany in 2022?

Germany has the fifth-highest minimum wage in Europe at €10.45 per hour for all employees over the age of 18.

The minimum wage was last increased in July 2022 and is updated every two years based on the recommendations of the ​​Minimum Wage Commission, a group that's newly appointed every five years with volunteers consisting of a chairperson, six permanent members with voting rights and two advisory members chosen from the scientific community who don't have voting rights in the Commission.

While the commission doesn’t offer a set monthly minimum wage, taking into account the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage works out to be €1,811.33 per month.

However, certain groups aren't considered to be employees in Germany under the terms of the Minimum Wage Act. Those include:

  • Trainees under the provisions of the Vocational Training Act.

  • Individuals performing voluntary work or undertaking voluntary service.

  • Participants in an employment promotion measure.

  • Self-employed individuals.

  • Long-term unemployed within the first six months of reintegration in the labour market.

Germany often ranks highly for expats, and here are our top 10 cities in Germany for putting down roots and flourishing. Moving to Germany is almost as bureaucratic as the process required for leaving Germany, but it remains one of the most popular destinations for expats and those looking to study abroad



What is the minimum wage in Spain in 2022?

Spain has the eighth-highest minimum wage in Europe in 2022, at €7.82 per hour. To calculate this at the monthly rate, you have to take into account 14 annual payments. The division of 14, rather than 12, is thanks to the Spanish system of paying two extra pay cheques in July and December. If you’re searching for the best places to live in Spain for expats, look no further than these 10 popular Spanish destinations.

Spain’s current minimum wage, referred to in Spain as the “Salario Mínimo Interprofesional” (SMI), is €1,000 per month. In some cases, where workers aren't paid 14 minimum wages per year, it’s €1,050 per month.

The legal full-time workweek in Spain is 40 hours. Unlike the minimum wage in many other European countries, every worker, regardless of their age, gender, or employment contract, is entitled to the SMI in Spain. For part-time workers, the Spanish minimum wage is half of the total value of the SMI.

The minimum wage in Spain has increased rapidly over the past two decades, growing by over 66% between 2008 and 2022, from €600 per month to €1,000 per month. Like Belgium, many industries in Spain have their own set minimum wages operating under collective agreements which entitle their workers to a higher minimum wage. 


What is the minimum wage in Andorra in 2022?

Andorra’s minimum wage is €6.68 per hour for all workers as of January 2022. It has a 40-hour work week, which workers and employers can increase, but only to a limited extent, and only if the employer pays overtime wages. Based on the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage in Andorra works out as €1,157.87 per month. It’s set by the government in Andorra and is adjusted twice a year. 


What is the minimum wage in Slovenia in 2022?

Slovenia has the 10th-highest minimum wage in Europe, at €1,074.43 per month for all full-time workers. The full-time working week in Slovenia is 40 hours, although in industries with an increased risk of injury or health-related problems this can be reduced to less than 36 hours per week.

An amendment to the Minimum Wage Act in Slovenia in 2018 brought a number of changes to how the national minimum wage was approached in the country, including introducing a formula to calculate the minimum wage in 2021. The minimum wage in Slovenia must exceed the minimum cost of living calculated using the new formula by at least 20%, but not more than 40%. 


What is the minimum wage in Portugal in 2022?

Portugal has the 11th-highest minimum wage in Europe at €705 per month. However, like Spain, Portugal has 14 salaries per year, paid out monthly with an extra salary for summer holidays, and Christmas allowances.

If the minimum wage of €9,870 per year were paid over 12 payments per year, it'd be €822.50 per month. The maximum legal working week in Portugal is 40 hours, making the minimum wage in Portugal €4.75 per hour.

All full-time workers older than 18 years of age are entitled to the Portuguese minimum wage, but employers are entitled to reduce this by 20% for apprentices.

There are three official minimum wages in Portugal, with a different minimum wage for the Azores and Madeira regions. The minimum wage in the Autonomous Region of Azores is €740.25 per month, and €722 per month in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Portugal also offers the best value for expats as one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe


What is the minimum wage in Malta in 2022?

Malta has the 12th-highest minimum wage in Europe in 2022, at ​€​​182.83 per week for full-time workers aged 18 and older. The minimum wage for 17 year old workers in Malta is €176.05 per week, and for those younger than 17 years old it is €173.21 per week. The work week in Malta is 40 hours per week, so for full-time workers aged 18 and older this works out to be €4.57 per hour or €792.26 per month.

In addition to the national minimum wage in Malta, workers are entitled to salary increases once they have been with the same employer for more than one year. After one year, workers are entitled to an extra €3 per week throughout their second year of employment, and then an additional €3 per week again once they’ve worked for the same employer for more than two years.

Various industries have their own minimum wages as agreed through Wage Regulation Orders (WRO) which can be found here in further detail. Malta has steadily grown in popularity in recent years as a tech hub for gaming companies, and it’s the first EU country to offer 5G mobile coverage nationwide. It offers a one-year nomad residence permit to non-EU citizens.


What is the minimum wage in Greece in 2022?

Greece’s minimum wage is €713 per month, as of May 2022, and it has a 40-hour work week. This equates to €4.11 per hour.

The increase to the minimum wage in May was the second that the Greek government implemented in 2022, having already raised the monthly minimum wage by about 2% to €663 per month in January 2022.

However, consumer inflation in Greece rose to 8.9% in March 2022, the highest it's been in 27 years, leading to the second minimum wage increase in May. Despite rising inflation, it’s still a popular retirement destination.


What is the minimum wage in Estonia in 2022?

The minimum wage in Estonia is €3.86 per hour, or €654 per month, for most full-time employees. The work week in Estonia is 40-hours, and the minimum wage is set by the Confederation of Estonian Employers (ETK) and Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL).

The ETK and EAKL negotiated the increase to €654 per month as of January 2022; the previous minimum wage had been €584 a month since 2020. Estonia is one of the most environmentally friendly countries in Europe, and more than half of the country is covered by forested land and almost a quarter of the natural landscape is protected

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This information is correct as of July 2022. This information is not to be relied on in making a decision with regard to an investment. We strongly recommend that you obtain independent financial advice before making any form of investment or significant financial transaction. This article is purely for general information purposes. by Shirota Yuri, Dimitry Anikin, Gabriel Ramos, Thomas Konings, Ansgar Scheffold, Omid Armin, Chris Karidis, Johan Mouchet, Arnaud STECKLE, Nick Fewings, Vita Marija Murenaite, Charles Postiaux, Di Ya, Johnny Africa, Ilya Orehov, and Ivan Theodoulou on Unsplash.

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