Cyprus Mail

Minimum wage could be lower than first thought

Labour Minister Kyriakos Koushos

Labour Minister Kyriakos Koushos will present his final proposal for the minimum wage to social partners on Wednesday and media reported on Sunday that it could well be lower than envisioned when first mooted.

According to Cyprus Times, unions are concerned that the minister will not set working hours nor the holidays to which workers are entitled.

There are also concerns about the figure to be paid, which late Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou was aiming for €1,000. The current best estimates reportedly now put this at €940.

The unions also say that in talks with Emilianidou they had been told the minimum wage would be applied gradually and using European methodology, and apply to a 40 hour working week, with a minimum wage of around €1,000.

Unions and employers’ organisations disagree over the method of determining a median salary, on which the minimum salary would be based.

The median wage calculated by the Cyprus Statistical Service is lower than that calculated by EU-SILC, which the unions want the minimum wage to be based on. Employers’ organisations want the former.

Unions have also said they are worried some employers will downgrade pay in some sectors to the level of the minimum wage, and that the minister’s proposals seem to have left some windows to allow this.

It has also been reported that those attending the meeting on Wednesday must first hand in their mobile phones, which will not be returned until Koushos returns to the labour ministry. This was also the case in previous meetings.

The decision will be taken to the Council of Ministers for final approval.

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