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Spain's government eyes €31 minimum wage rise to €996

The Local Spain
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Spain's government eyes €31 minimum wage rise to €996
Despite job insecurity, Spain has the seventh highest minimum wages in the EU. Photo: Josep Lago

Spain’s left-wing coalition government has proposed raising the minimum wage for the second time in the last six months to almost €1,000 in 14 payments, a move that could benefit 2 million people in the country. 

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Spain’s second deputy prime minister and Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz is pushing for the country’s minimum wage - el Salario Mínimo Interprofesional (SMI) - to be increased again. 

“What would I like? For there to be a minimum wage of €1,000,” she told journalists on Monday.

Díaz did not disclose the exact salary increase but the head of top Spanish workers’ union UGT, Mari Cruz Vicente, has revealed the exact figures proposed by the Unidas Podemos politician.

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The increase would be of €31 from the current €965 to €996. This would apply to full-time work contracts, it refers to a gross amount (pre-tax) and it would be paid in 14 different payments as is the standard in Spain. 

The draft decree will first have to be debated by business associations, unions and members of the Spanish cabinet to ensure the minimum wage rise actually comes into force. 

Last September, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved a €15 rise in el salario mínimo from €950 to €965, a bill which was again spearheaded by Yolanda Díaz.

“There’s no better weapon in the fight against poverty than this,” Díaz argued, who also defended “raising wages in general”.

This previous rise in minimum wages in Spain resulted in the increase of €8 in social security contributions for the country’s self-employed workers up to €294 a month, a figure that could increase further still for many under new plans to raise rates based on real earnings.  

Even though job insecurity and unemployment remain relatively high in Spain, the country has the seventh highest minimum wage rate in the EU. 

The gross amount of €1,126, which is the equivalent of €965 but in twelve payments a year, is higher than Italy’s or Greece’s minimum wage but considerably lower than France’s (€1,603/month), Germany’s (€1,621), Belgium’s (€1,658), the Netherlands’ (€1,725) or Ireland’s (€1,775). 

The Spanish government on Thursday managed to pass a long-awaited labour reform aimed at ending rampant job insecurity with a majority of just one, but it has emerged that a PP deputy accidentally voted for the legislation and in doing so tipped the balance in favour of the government.

This will also lead to a salary increase for some 73,000 workers in Spain who belong to multi-service companies that offer cleaning, gardening, maintenance and other services.

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