How high is minimum wage going to be?

A new minimum wage should be determined by 15th September, following the agreement between the state authorities, trade unions and employers. After yesterday’s meeting, Finance and Labour ministers Sinisa Mali and Zoran Djordjevic respectively, said they believed that the three sides would have reach a consensus by 15th September.

The minimum wage is now 143 dinars per hour, or about 24,000 per month.

Trade unions believe that the minimum salary should be 36,000 dinars, which equals the cost of the basic consumer basket, although they are aware that this is hardly feasible at this time.

Employers unions have not yet come up with their proposal for the minimum wage, but if the price of labour goes up they will require the state to do an appropriate concession in their favour in terms of lowering taxes and contributions.

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President of the Union of Independent Trade Unions of Serbia (SSSS), Ljubisav Orbovic, points out that the minimum wage has to cover the costs of the basic consumer basket.

“In real terms, this is a big increase that cannot be sustained, or it would be hard to achieve it at this moment. However, we expect that in the near future, it will be attained,” Orbovic told Tanjug.

He added that the SSSS would insist on the Social-Economic Council (SEC) having a strategic plan for all those involved in further negotiations.

He recalled that, the last two times when the negotiations about the minimum wage took place, the end result was an 8 and 10 percent increase respectively.

Raising a tax-free segment of salary is a possibility

The president of Nezavisnost Trade Unions, Zoran Stojiljkovic says this time around, the increase should be between that range, and at least double digit.

“We are aware that there are demands for the minimum wage to go up by even 50 percent but that is something that this economy would not be able to withstand. On the other hand, but we will not agree to maintaining the status quo either,” Nezavisnost leader said.

According to him, one of the possibilities, when it comes to increasing the minimum wage, is increasing in the non-taxable part of salaries, which would make it easier on employers to pay this type of increased minimum wage.

Salary tax and contributions are what employers are concerned about, and the president of their union Miloš Nenezić points out that employers, if they agree to higher minimum wage, would like to state to approve some kind of concession for them in terms of lower taxes and contributions.

“The upper limit of the minimum wage depends on what will happen to taxes and contributions, which are related to earnings in general, but especially minimum wage”, Nenezic told Tanjug.

He noted that the Social-Economic Council (SEC) was due to have a meeting on 6th or 7th September, and before that, on 30th August to discuss the minimum wage issues.

He expressed hope that an agreement would be reached, adding that all stakeholders should have an objective attitude.

In the event that the SEC fails to reach agreement on the minimum wage, the Government of Serbia has a final decision.

(RTS, 21.08.2018)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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