The wage needed to live comfortably in Czechia rises by 10 percent

The amount needed to maintain a 'comfortable' lifestyle with small savings and raising a child has increased by around CZK 5,000. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 17.04.2024 10:15:00 (updated on 17.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Financial experts have calculated that the minimum decent wage for a person with a child in Czechia to live comfortably, along with having suitable leisure time and small savings, is CZK 45,573. Researchers from the Platform for a Minimum Decent Wage say that two-thirds of employees in Czechia were earning less than this sum in 2023.

The study took into account essential expenses such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, health, education, and leisure while comparing the average national wage, which was CZK 43,341 in 2023. The decent minimum wage has surged compared to its 2022 level, when it stood at CZK 40,912.

"The minimum decent wage is a tool that can be used to grasp the crisis of purchasing power that we are still facing after a dramatic inflation wave, despite the fact that inflation has fallen to normal levels. The average wage or median wage says nothing about how to live on these sums. They say nothing about the spending side. We are not only counting bare survival, but also something extra," said political scientist Kateřina Smejkalová, who took part in the research for the study.

Experts calculated the monthly expenditure on housing to be at CZK 14,713, food at CZK 8,194, clothing and footwear at CZK 1,460, and transport at CZK 1,946. In Prague, costs are higher, with housing costing CZK 16,133 on average. Prague’s decent minimum wage for 2023 is a little higher than the national average, at CZK 47,718.

Rising wages, but also increasing costs

"A total of 184,000 employees fell below the threshold for a minimum decent wage [in 2023] because their costs rose faster than their wages," researcher Jan Bittner said, pointing out that rising wages are not enough to combat the reduction in disposable income; the Platform for a Minimum Decent Wage noted that the government should help contain rising living costs.

The report also revealed that 57 percent of employed men and 71 percent of women did not reach the minimum decent income, highlighting a gender pay gap. In social services, 92 percent of workers were underpaid. 

The government has pledged to increase the minimum wage, recently announcing that it would index it to the average national wage and claiming that it will reach 47 percent of the gross mean wage by the end of the decade. 

Employers are also expected to raise salaries by between 5 and 10 percent this year, and – with inflation in 2024 abating – analysts believe real wages should grow by between 3 and 4 percent this year.

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