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17 June, 2024
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Discussions on minimum wage in the final stretch

Labor Minister Kyriakos Kousios set to meet with employers and trade unions on Thursday and Friday

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

We are entering the final stretch for the introduction of the minimum wage in Cyprus and serious developments are expected next Friday, July 22, 2022. The goal is to reach an agreement in principle on the introduction of the minimum wage, which will hopefully follow the meeting between the Minister of Labour, Kyriakos Kousios with employers and trade unions.

The day before, on Thursday 21 July 2022, the Minister will have separate meetings with each trade union and each employer organization in the morning, while in the afternoon of the same day there will be joint meetings of the Minister with all employer organizations and guilds. 

At the meeting earlier this month, the unions criticized the employers for completely changing the framework for setting the minimum wage in Cyprus. From there, SEK, one of the trade unions, held a press conference where they set the record straight on the discussions the trade unions had with the late Minister of Labor, Zeta Emilianidou, since 2021.

On that same day, discussions were held with Mr. Kousios and it was decided that the minimum wage agreement would be decided upon on July 21, 2022 and July 22, 2022.  Within the framework of those decisions, the Minister made it clear that the limit of the minimum wage in Cyprus will not be below 924 euros.

Recently, according to "K" sources, there was information that the minimum wage would be set between 950 - 960 euros of gross earnings. If indeed on July 22nd there will be an agreement on this matter, it will be a decisive day for the labor in Cyprus.

Estimated amount

There is a large discrepancy in relation to the estimated amount of the median monthly salary in Cyprus. According to the EU-Silc (EU statistics on income and living conditions) survey, the median salary is 1,727 euros, while the national statistics have it at 1,573 euros. The national statistics median salary is 9% lower. The determination of the amount of the minimum wage would be made on the basis of the percentage in relation to the median and with the prospect of adjusting it to 60% at a later stage. According to the explanation, the discrepancy between the 2 reported salaries lies in the inclusion of employees whose earnings correspond to fewer hours of employment.

As announced by the SEC during its last press conference a special meeting of the Labor Consultative Body was held in which both the former Minister of Labor, Mrs. Emilianidou, participated along with the Minister of Finance, where the expert of the International Labor Organization Rosalia Alvarez, had presented the basic elements that should be taken into account for the introduction of the minimum wage in Cyprus, based on the expertise and experience of other countries. Introducing a minimum wage would raise the incomes of 9% of low-wage workers, according to Labor Advisory Council research. The cost to payroll from the introduction of the minimum wage will be just 0.7%. The implementation of the minimum wage should be done in the right way. Finally, she stated that as much as a very high minimum wage is harmful, a low one is equally harmful, and has the same effect as having no minimum wage at all.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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