The new minimum wage – between promises and reality

Economy experts and trade union representatives are not satisfied with the government’s decision that the minimum monthly wage from 1 January will be raised to only 40,020 dinars.

According to them, the amount cannot even cover the basic necessities of life, because prices are growing day on day and thus the minimum consumer basket is still unattainable for many workers.

In the end, the government decided that the minimum price of labour in Serbia should be 230 dinars per hour.

“What can be said is that this is an extremely insufficient amount,” says Zoran Stojiljković, a professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology and adds: “Insufficient even for a normal life. If you take into account the fact that the price of basic foodstuffs has risen by an average of around 20 per cent, plus there are ever-growing costs of public services”.

The question then arises: has the state rewarded employees enough by raising the minimum wage? “The minimum wage should be at least 45,000 dinars right now,” points out Dejan Gavrilović of the Efektiva association for N1. Since the state did not accept that proposal, the minimum offered is not even enough to cover the minimum consumer basket.

According to official data, the minimum consumer basket in June this year exceeds 44,000 dinars. “The new minimum wage is already lagging far behind the consumer basket costs in June. Right now, in my opinion, it definitely lags five to six thousand dinars behind the cost of the minimum consumer basket,” Gavrilović estimates.

Last year, Finance Minister Siniša Mali assured that the situation would improve. At the time, he promised that the minimum wage would be equal to the price of the minimum consumer basket by the end of 2023. However, the Efektiva Association says that his statement is unrealistic.

“From February to June, the cost of the minimum consumer basket increased by about 2,000 dinars. If the minimum wage increases on an annual basis from three to five thousand dinars, and the cost of the consumer basket increases by 2,000 in the space of month or two, I don’t see a way to equalise these two,” says Gavrilović.

The minister’s promise could only be fulfilled if prices drop which is highly unlikely as new price hikes have been announced until the year-end.

(, 20.09.2022)



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