11 Countries with the Highest Minimum Wage in the World in 2017

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The minimum wage of a country is an indication of how well that country respects labor rights of its citizens, and in this article, Insider Monkey provides you with a list of 11 countries with the highest minimum wage in the world in 2017.

Minimum wage is the lowest possible rate employers can pay employees. The legal provisions concerning minimum wage exist in most of the countries nowadays. The first laws with regards to minimum wage were implemented in the 1980s, in Australia and New Zealand. Minimum wage is a subject of an ongoing debate. There are different opinions as to the positive and negative aspects of the minimum wage. The Balance has recently published an article which provides an overview of the arguments used for and against the minimum wage.

The proponents of the idea that minimum wage should be raised a point to the fact that it would lead to an improvement in the standard of living of poverty-stricken workers. Furthermore, they assert that the additional income workers are given would be spent by consumers, creating the ripple effect in the economy of a country. The proponents of minimum wage also assert that a raise in minimum wage would reduce government expenses for social programs, and income disparity in terms of gender and race. The opponents of the minimum wage, on the other hand, claim that an increase in minimum wage may result in higher unemployment rates, especially among inexperienced workers. Moreover, a raise in minimum wage would create an incentive for companies to invest in technology and machinery rather than human resources. The opponents of the idea also suggest that an increase in minimum wage would ultimately lead to an increase in prices, so as to counterweight labor costs. One of the assertions is also that it would lead to a higher school drop-out rate.

11 Countries with the Highest Minimum Wage in the World in 2017


Being familiar with the struggles of the poor layers of society, it should be clear what part of the argument I stand on. Not only does a raise in minimum wage help poverty-stricken populations cope easier with the daily struggles inherent to capitalism, but it also enhances the rights they are entitled to being a part of the work force. Last time we talked about minimum wage we provided a list of 10 jobs that pay more than minimum wage for teenagers, this time however, we focus on countries with the highest minimum wage in 2017. Interestingly, these countries are also among top 25 richest, healthiest and most advanced countries in the world. Talk about utopia!

Australia had the highest minimum wage in the world in 2016, giving a generous $17.70 per hour to workers. Statistics show that African countries have very low minimum wages year after year. In 2015, Sierra Leone had the lowest minimum wage in the world, where workers were given only 0.03 USD per hour. The data on the minimum wages in the USA in 2017 show that D.C. has the highest minimum wage in the USA, 12.50 USD per hour. It is followed by Washington and Massachusetts, 11 USD per hour. Puerto Rico has the lowest minimum wage in the USA, 6.55 USD per hour, which is lower than the minimum wage established by the US law.

When it comes to Europe, not all of the countries have legal provisions on minimum wage. Since there is no law pertaining to minimum wage, sometimes this means that it is not possible to gather the statistical data for these countries and do a comparative analysis. For example, there are no data for minimum wage per hour in Norway, as rates are agreed upon through collective bargaining for different sectors. As indicated by Eurostat, this is also the case in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. In Cyprus, the government sets minimum wages for specific occupations.

According to the Eurostat’s data from July 2017, we already mentioned, Luxembourg is the country with the highest minimum wage in Europe, with 1999 Euros per month. Bulgaria is one of the EU countries with lowest minimum wage, with less than 250 Euros per month. Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Estonia, and Poland are other EU countries with rather low minimum wages. Poland appears to do best among the worst. Minimum wage in Poland is fixed at 473 Euros per month.

When drafting the list of countries with the highest minimum wage in the world in 2017, I used the data provided by OECD and Eurostat. I also referred to the data provided by the official institutions of the countries which are on the list. Among other things, this data included the information on the legislations concerning minimum wages and annual changes in minimum wages.

Without further delay, here is the list of the 11 countries with the highest minimum wage in the world in 2017.

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