The introduction of a national minimum wage will make lives better for 9% of the island’s workforce, as it will function as a shield for employees against exploitation, said Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou.
Addressing Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) members, Emilianidou said a national minimum wage would benefit the market, clamping down on unfair competition from employers who resort to exploitation.
On more than one occasion, the Labour Minister appeared adamant about introducing a national minimum wage before the end of President Nicos Anastasiades’ administration.
According to reports, the minister refrained from disclosing the national minimum wage amount, sufficing to tell her interlocutors that it would not be lower than €924, which is the minimum compensation set for some professions.
Emilianidou said the minimum wage would be introduced by the end of the year.
When asked by the members of the CCCI whether the government would take into account the fallout from the ongoing war in Ukraine, Emilianidou reassured the business community that authorities are aware of the challenges.
Emilianidou said the government does not wish to see businesses falling on hard times following the coronavirus pandemic, reminding of the financial support given during lockdowns and restrictions.
But the government is not willing to accept people working a full-time job for €500 or €600 per month.
She noted that setting a minimum wage for all occupations would help low-income retirees receive better and more decent pensions in the medium and long term.
Asked which sectors will be most affected by introducing the national minimum wage, Emilianidou referred to a survey showing employees in the retail sector take-home wages under the poverty line.
The government plans to introduce a minimum wage that will gradually reach 60% of the mean wage.
According to official data, Cyprus’ mean (net) wage was €1,573 in 2020.
Currently, a monthly minimum wage applies to nine professions at €870 and rises to €924 after six months of continuous employment.