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GKI: 14% of Hungarian employees on minimum wage

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About 14% of Hungarian employees earn the minimum wage, according to a survey by economic research institute GKI. About half of these earn the minimum wage for unskilled workers, a gross HUF 138,000 a month, while the rest earn the minimum wage for skilled workers, which stands at gross HUF 181,000, the survey shows.       

Companies that provide business services, which runs the gamut from logistics to infocommunications to legal services, pay 21% of their staff the minimum wage, according to a summary of the GKI survey by state news agency MTI. About 18% of staff on retailersʼ payrolls earn the minimum wage, while the rate is 11% at both manufacturing and construction companies.

Companies with 11-20 people on their payroll pay 43% of their staff the minimum wage, while companies with a headcount of more than 250 pay just 7% of their employees the minimum wage.  

In a regional comparison, the highest rate of employees who earn the minimum wage, at one-third, is in the Southern Great Plain region. The lowest rate, at 5%, is in Central Hungary, home to the capital.       

GKI conducted the survey of more than 1,200, mostly Hungarian-owned companies employing over five workers in March. 

Imre Palkovics, head of the National Federation of Workersʼ Councils, put the number of laborers earning the unskilled minimum wage at 303,000 and the number earning the skilled minimum wage at around 876,000 in an interview published in daily Magyar Idők in January. 

The number of employed people in Hungary stood at 4,450,000 at around that time.   

Income inequality below EU average

A separate report by MTI on Thursday revealed that income inequality in Hungary is under the European Union average, as measured by the difference between the incomes of the top fifth and lowest fifth of earners - known as the income quintile share ratio.

Nevertheless, the report adds, the disparity is still greater than in some of the countryʼs neighbours, according to data compiled by Eurostat, the EUʼs statistics office.

The disposable income, after tax and other deductions, of the 20% of Hungarians with the highest incomes was 4.3 times higher than that of the 20% of the population with the lowest incomes in 2016, the data show.   

The income quintile share ratio, which is one of the Social Scoreboard indicators supporting the European Pillar of Social Rights, was 3.5 in the Czech Republic, 4.8 in Poland, and 3.6 in Slovakia. The ratio was the highest in Bulgaria (7.9), Romania (7.2) and Lithuania (7.1).

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