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POLAND: Minimum Wage Set for 2019

Social Policy Minister Elżbieta Rafalska announced that an agreement has been reached on the minimum wage level for 2019.  It will be set at PLN 2220 pcm, and an hourly rate of PLN 14,5. The number of Poles who will benefit from this is substantial, some 1.4 million Poles work for minimum wage. The PLN 120 increase since 2018 is a result of a consensus reached between the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, as well as representatives of trade unions. The Social Policy Ministry pushed for a slightly higher minimum wage in 2019, however the Finance Ministry and trade unions expressed their concerns.

The economic situation is expected to reach its peak this year and smaller businesses may find it problematic to cover an excessive wage increase. The Finance Ministry fears that this could lead to a higher inflation or an increased unemployment rate, consequently further straining the state budget – the raise to PLN 2220 will increase state budget expenditure by PLN 215 million. As regions of Poland vary in living costs, development, productivity and labour demand, experts suggest that in order to avoid straining the budget, the minimum wage should be set by region, rather than for the country as a whole.