Minimum wage slated to increase in January

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Ljubljana – The statutory minimum wage is scheduled to increase in January under legislation passed in 2018. A new formula tying the minimum wage to cost of living will be used. Preliminary calculations show it will stand at roughly EUR 736 net.

Under the law, the minimum wage must be at least 20% and up to 40% higher than the minimum cost of living. The last time the minimum cost of living was calculated, in 2017, it stood at EUR 613 for a single person.

The Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has said the minimum wage will be set by the minister following consultations with social partner. It will be published in the Official Gazette on 31 January at the latest.

Slovenia introduced the minimum wage 25 years ago and it has been significantly increased several times since, most recently in 2019, when it stood at EUR 887 gross, and in 2020, when it rose to EUR 941 gross.

Employers have been warning for a while that some companies will not be able to absorb the higher wage and have asked the government to defer the scheduled increase. Trade unions have been fiercely opposed to the idea.

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As a compromise, the government recently proposed that the new formula be postponed until April, whereby the state would pay for the increase through September.

Both employers and trade unions opposed this and the proposal, which was due to be included in the latest economic stimulus law, was shelved.

Sonja Šmuc, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), said earlier this week that businesses would continue to push for a suspension of the increase and expected the government to cover the increase despite its compromise solution having been rejected.

She said that if the minimum wage did increase, “the price will be very high, in particular in the form of an increased number of jobless and the loss of quite a few companies in certain industries”.

Šmuc has information some companies are preparing to relocate abroad because of the higher minimum wage. “We’ll insist that a solution be found before January pay is due.”

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