Minimum wage for 2021 to be set at EUR 1,024 gross

Brdo pri Kranju/Ljubljana – Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj has announced after meeting social partners on Tuesday that he will set the minimum wage for 2021 at EUR 1,024 gross. This is 120% of the minimum cost of living and the lowest possible rise under minimum wage legislation. Last year, the minimum wage stood at EUR 941 gross.

The minister said the government intended to partly cover the raise for employers until the end of June with the option of a six-month extension.

The next anti-corona economic stimulus bill will thus bring a provision to lower the lowest base for social contributions from 60% of the average salary to the sum corresponding to the minimum wage. In this way the state would pay some 40% of the raise, Cigler Kralj explained at a news conference in Brdo pri Kranju.

This will be the second most important measure in the eighth economic stimulus bill, which will also bring an extension of the furlough subsidy scheme and some new measures to preserve jobs during the epidemic.

A new formula to calculate the minimum wage kicked in as of 2021 in line with the 2018 changes to the minimum wage act.

It says the minimum wage must be at least 20% but not more than 40% above the minimum cost of living.

The last time the minimum cost of living was calculated was in 2017, at EUR 613 for a single person. It will be next calculated in 2023.

This is what particularly bothers the trade unions, with Pergam head Jakob Počivavšek saying the raise does not take into account all the price increases since 2017.

Although some employers insisted on freezing the raise even at today’s meeting with the minister, they now welcomed his opting for the lowest possible rise.

The director of the OZS small business chamber, Danijel Lamperger, told the STA he expected the state to keep the word about subsidising the raise.

Počivavšek meanwhile criticized Cigler Kralj for having decided how much to raise the minimum wage before meeting the social partners, saying he had announced the sum at the start of the meeting.

The ZSSS confederation said last week it hoped for almost the highest possible raise, which means the minimum wage would amount to some EUR 847 net.

The minimum wage for each year must be set by the labour minister after consulting social partners, and the sum must be published in the Official Gazette by 31 January.

Employer organisations were against the changes to the minimum wage act before they were being passed in late 2018, arguing many companies could not afford to raise wages.

During the corona crisis last year they wanted to persuade the government to freeze or delay the January 2021 raise, but the trade unions were strongly against.

The government came up with a compromise, proposing to delay the new formula until 1 April, with the government covering the raise until September.

Since both the employers and trade unions opposed it, the proposal did not make it to the last anti-corona economic stimulus law.

Statistics Office data shows that the average monthly gross pay in Slovenia in 2019 was EUR 1,754.