If companies are to be able to meet a minimum wage of €1,200 per month proposed by the Social Democratic Party (SDE), they should receive the necessary help in attaining that, party deputy chair and Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Riina Sikkut says.
The issue is of such significance for SDE that the party's campaign slogan going into the March 2023 general election is "Palgad peavad tõusma" ("Wages must rise").
Speaking to ERR webcast "Otse uudistemajast" Wednesday, "We cannot keep people, or the economy for that matter, going just via subsidies."
"This means in fact, the wage, a person's monthly income, has to ensure their survival. If we haven't understood this as a country up until now, well that's a pity," she went on.
The €1,200 minimum wage would not be introduced immediately, however, if the policy found traction, the minister went on.
"The movement must be gradual. We will not make the transition right from January 1, 2024. It will be step-by-step, while companies must also be given the opportunity to adapt."
As to paying the wage at all, Sikkut said: "Increases in productivity can be used to pay the higher wages."
However, this boosted productivity should be ensured by the state, via subsidies if need be, Sikkut added.
At the unveiling of its election campaign, SDE highlighted standards of living and the need to improve these as its main policy plank.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov