Employers, trade unions to debate whether minimum wage can be lowered

Workers making filter masks at the Baltic Filters factory.
Workers making filter masks at the Baltic Filters factory. Source: ERR

Employers and the Estonian Trade Union Confederation (Eesti Ametiühingute Keskliit) will discuss next week if the minimum wage can be lowered after the Bank of Estonia's average wage forecast predicted a smaller increase than expected for next year, newspaper Äripäev writes.

In November, a minimum wage agreement for 2020 and 2021 was struck between unions which will increase the minimum wage to 40 percent of the average wage.

However, due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, the Bank of Estonia has changed the forecast on which the minimum wage is calculated: in the forecast published in the summer, this year's average gross wage is €1,393 per month, next year it should increase by only two euros to €1,395. Previously, these numbers were €1,505 and €1,584.

If the latest forecast of the central bank is taken into account, the minimum wage would be €553, which is almost €30 lower than this year, the newspaper writes.

According to Äripäev, the proposal of the Central Trade Union Confederation is to freeze the minimum wage for next year, lowering it would mean a historical precedent.

Arto Aas, head of the Estonian Employers' Confederation (Eesti Tööandjate Keskliit), said although the new forecast predicts a significant decrease in the minimum wage it is very unlikely it will happen.

The minimum wage is currently €584.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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