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POLAND: Minimum Wage

In 2018, Poland’s minimum wage rose to PLN 13.7 per hour from 13 per hour. Initially, the government intended to push the rate to an hourly PLN 13.5, but trade unions spoke out against this. Employers, however, were not happy as they were calling for a smaller increase. The Ministry of Labour has just proposed, that the minimum wage in 2019 will rise to PLN 14.7 per hour. As the Ministry explained, the increase is calculated based on the need to maintain the minimum wage at a 47% level of the national average. The number of Poles who will benefit from this is substantial, some 1.4 million Poles work for minimum wage.

Previously, Opposition parties such as Modern Poland opposed such increases, arguing that they could prove problematic for small business owners. This is unlikely to happen, save for the poorest regions of Poland where living costs, productivity, and wages are low. While creating minimum wages that vary across different regions would theoretically be the best solution, it could prove very difficult to implement in practice. Additionally, demand for labour is currently high, increasing employees’ bargaining power and reducing the chances that employers will try to resist the changes or try to lower costs by dismissing workers, economists argue.