Experts: Earning a 'decent' wage in Czechia is getting tougher

The Decent Wage platform found that 41 percent of the 3.6 million job contracts in the private sector did not provide a living wage. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.04.2022 08:42:00 (updated on 29.04.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech analysts have determined the amount of a "decent" minimum gross monthly wage for full-time work, an amount that covers the expenses of an adult with a dependent (factoring in leisure-time activities and enough to save for a rainy day).

Experts from the Decent Minimum Wage project calculated a decent minimum wage for the first quarter of 2022. For most Czechs, it would be CZK 33,909, while for those living in Prague, where costs are higher, a living minimum wage would be about CZK 39,974.

Expenses taken into consideration included food, housing, clothes, transport, health, education, mobile phone, Internet service as well as a small reserve and some cushion to account for rising prices.

Factoring out money for clothes, free-time activities, and savings, a decent minimum wage would amount to CZK 21,035, experts said.

"Those who did not reach the minimum dignified wage in the past years or were closely above it, are now extremely threatened by the steep rise on energy prices as well as overall inflation," project analysts stated.

  • Due to expected inflation, the decent minimum wage for the entire year could reach CZK 34,977 (regions) and CZK 41,233 (Prague).
  • In 2021, the figure was CZK 36,717 (Prague) and CZK 31,146 (regions).
  • The average gross monthly wage* for the Czech Republic was CZK 37,839 last year; it reached CZK 40,135 in Q4, with a median of CZK 34,360. *Data from CSU

Researchers from the Decent Minimum Wage platform found that 41 percent out of the 3.6 million job contracts in the private sector did not provide a decent minimum wage last year, affecting some 1.5 million people. In particular, 48 percent of women and 35 percent of men did not reach the figure. In the public sector, 17 percent of workers earned a less than the decent wage.

  • In 2021, the minimum wage in the Czech Republic was CZK 15,200.
  • In 2022, the minimum wage in the Czech Republic is CZK 16,200.
  • A person on parental leave (lasting up to three years) gets CZK 8,333/month.

More than 20 Czech economists, sociologists, and political scientists have been assessing what constitutes a decent minimum wage since 2016. Their calculations are based on data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), ministries, and other institutions.

The decent minimum wage calculation was published for the first time in 2019.

Experts are of the view that wages in the Czech Republic must increase significantly. They also recommend that firms winning public contracts and subsidies be obliged to secure dignified wages. Social benefits replacing wages should increase, as well.

The concept of a decent minimum wage was created in order to contribute to the growing debate on the negative impacts of low wages in the Czech Republic, as well as the increasingly dire situation of the working poor, who have difficulties covering living expenses even when they are working full-time.

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