Minimum wages around the world: the countries with the lowest and highest ones

Sushree Behera

In our contemporary world, where our lives are significantly influenced by the domain of labor and finances, a fundamental notion known as the minimum wage holds a crucial place. 

Now, don’t let the term intimidate you – visualize it as the least sum of money an employer is obliged to remunerate a worker for an hour’s worth of labor. Any employer who is paying less than the fixed minimum amount is violating the law. 

It functions as a protective measure that guarantees every individual that nobody toils away for peanuts and can still afford the basic necessities of life, like food, shelter, and clothing. Let’s understand the concept in detail. 

What is minimum wage

Suppose Alex were to be employed at a retail establishment, involved in activities such as burger preparation, stocking shelves, or assisting patrons. There’s a regulation stipulating that they must receive compensation amounting to at least a designated figure for each hour expended in labor. This regulation is commonly referred to as the minimum wage. 

However, the this is not a haphazardly chosen numerical value; far from it. It is endowed with a profound purpose – an immensely significant one, in fact. It doesn’t involve plucking a figure out of thin air; rather, it involves establishing an equilibrium between what laborers earn and what business enterprises can viably afford to disburse. 

The number ensures that the wages are a correct valuation of the work it is applied to. Along with this, it also verifies that the work-life scale remains steady without tilting excessively towards either the laborers or the employers.

Read more: Top 10 countries by GDP in 2022 

Top 5 countries with the highest minimum wage in the world

In global economic benchmarks, let’s uncover the top-ranking nations that boast the most substantial minimum wage standards. These benchmarks play a pivotal role in establishing a fair income baseline for their workforce. 

1. Luxembourg 

Securing the Premier Position, Luxembourg stands tall as the frontrunner in this list, setting an unparalleled standard for minimum wage. With an impressive offering of US$3,169 (EUR 2,936) monthly for proficient individuals aged 18 and above, this nation takes the lead on the global stage. 

Translating into a remarkable hourly rate of $13.67, Luxembourg leaves no room for compromise when it comes to acknowledging the value of skilled labor.

2. Australia

Australia proudly presents an hourly minimum wage of US$12.14. The value of human resources is high in Australia. The high minimum wages symbolize its dedication to recognizing the worth of its labor force. 

To put this into perspective, the annual scale equates to a commendable USD 23,975.61, solidifying Australia’s commitment to ensuring substantial earnings for its workers.

3. New Zealand 

The country New Zealand is an example of great labor support. It initiated the concept of minimum wage when many have not even thought about it. New Zealand had initiated the concept back in 1894

The current hourly minimum wage in New Zealand is $11.20. The nation continues to honor its historical commitment to fair compensation. It has an impressive annual minimum wage earning of $20,932.45. 

4. Ireland

Ireland has a strong system and rules to safeguard the labor group. The government is also very concerned about human resources as the population is close to 5.05 million

Presently standing at $9.62 per hour, Ireland’s dedication to improving its labor force’s livelihood is evident. The country always tries to improve and uplift its workers’ financial well-being.

5. France

France is one of the most progressive countries in terms of the minimum wage system. With the beginning of the concept of minimum wages, the country is putting special interest towards it. 

Currently, it is ranked at number 3 in the highest minimum wage in the world list. The hourly minimum wage set by France is $11.06, whereas the annual is set at $20,903.33. 

Top 5 countries with the lowest minimum wage in the world

A handful of nations stand out for hosting some of the lowest minimum wages on the planet. Delving into these socioeconomic realities, we present a comprehensive overview of the 5 countries grappling with the challenge of providing their workforce with the most meager earnings, accompanied by insights into their unique circumstances.

1. Sudan

Pioneering the list is Sudan, bearing the weight of an astonishingly low minimum wage set at SDG 425 (equivalent to a mere $0.71) per month. This economic anomaly is intrinsically linked to the nation’s relentless economic turmoil and the persistent waves of political instability that have engulfed it.

2. Bangladesh

Moving along this spectrum of earnings, we encounter Bangladesh, a country renowned for harboring one of the world’s most modest minimum wage rates. Particularly spotlighted is the realm of garment workers, whose efforts command a monthly wage of 8,000 takas (approximately $95). 

3. Georgia

Casting our gaze towards Georgia, we discern another nation grappling with a minimal minimum wage scenario. The standard is pegged at 20 lari (around $6.30) per day. Concerns reverberate through labor unions and activists who decry its insufficiency in maintaining a satisfactory standard of living.

4. Kyrgyzstan

Embarking on the Kyrgyzstan narrative, we encounter a comparable narrative of constrained minimum wages. The Kyrgyzstani workforce draws a meager sum of 2,000 som (approximately $23) per month. They find themselves enmeshed in a discourse ignited by labor factions and unions, echoing the call for augmented wages and an enhancement in working conditions.

5. Gambia

Concluding this global exploration, we touch upon Gambia, yet another nation harboring an exceedingly low minimum wage. Commanding a meager rate of 50 dalasis (equivalent to $1.20) per day, Gambia’s wage landscape faces vehement critique from labor activists. They underline its inadequacy in facilitating a life of dignity and sufficiency.

Historical perspective of minimum wage

Labor and payment have a dark history in our past. When the conclusion of the Second World War emerged, countries started prioritizing their human resources. Countries embraced the concept of minimum wage openly. Countries like Pakistan and India took steps to work on these factors. 

India, after a few years of independence, worked on its constitution and set laws to protect the labor group and minimum wages. Following that, Pakistan passed a simple system in 1961

Legislation of minimum wage in the United States came earlier. The country established its initial federal minimum wage through the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, setting it at $0.25 per hour. All the major changes and reforms in the topic of minimum wage have been observed since 1990.

Read more: The countries with the highest salaries: a global overview of prosperity

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