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Money Matters: Russian Minimum Hourly Wage Compared to Other Countries

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Earlier this week, A Just Russia, a social-democratic political party, submitted a bill pushing for the introduction of hourly wages across Russia and suggested the minimum hourly wage should be 100 rubles ($1.4). If a minimum wage is introduced in Russia how would it compare with the lowest base pay in other countries?

Experts have different opinions when it comes to a minimum wage. Some say it's a good thing that helps low-skilled workers and the poor to keep up with price hikes. At the same time, economies are said to grow as the purchasing power of consumers increase when they get bigger paychecks and therefore can buy more stuff.

On the contrary, those who are against a minimum wage argue that it hurts an economy by increasing unemployment rates, particularly among unskilled or inexperienced workers, and damaging businesses. The opponents also say that many beneficiaries of a minimum wage are teenagers and part-time workers, who aren't necessarily poor.

Currently the minimum wage in Russia is at 5,965 rubles ($88.5) per month, which works out to be $0.55 per hour when calculated based on a 40-hour work week.

If the government passes the new bill setting the minimum wage to $1.4, the lowest-paid workers in Russia would make 16,000 rubles ($236) per month, which would be three-times more than they make today.

Let's find out how Russia would pair with other countries if the new minimum wage is introduced.

China

The Chinese government doesn't have unified rate of minimum wage rates across the country. Instead, hourly wages depend on provinces and economic zones. The lowest minimum wage is in Heilongjiang, the country's northernmost province — $1.24, while workers in Guangdong, a coastal province that borders Hong Kong and Macau, have the highest minimum wage of $2.80.

Workers assemble toy cars at the production line of Dongguan Da Lang Wealthwise Plastic Factory in Dongguan, China. (File)
© AP Photo/ Eugene Hoshiko
Workers assemble toy cars at the production line of Dongguan Da Lang Wealthwise Plastic Factory in Dongguan, China. (File)

United States

Although the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25, states can set their own minimum levels. The majority of the states (29) have a higher wage floor than the one set by the federal government.

Workers build a modular apartment unit at a Capsys Corp's factory in Brooklyn, New York
© AFP 2016/ JEWEL SAMAD
Workers build a modular apartment unit at a Capsys Corp's factory in Brooklyn, New York

Japan

Japanese employees get paid depending on the prefectures and industries they work at. Their minimum hourly wages range between $6.20 and $8.10. It is expected that in 2016 the minimum wage would be increased by another 3 percent across the country.

Construction workers labour at a construction site in Tokyo
© AFP 2016/ YOSHIKAZU TSUNO
Construction workers labour at a construction site in Tokyo

Germany

Although in Germany a minimum wage was only introduced in 2014, right off the bat it became one of the highest in the world — workers in Germany now earn $9.58 per hour minimum. Moreover, a higher minimum wage is often set in some companies as a result of collective bargaining agreements.

Workers complete the new four-cylinder diesel engine OM 654 during the official start of production in the MDC Power GmbH, a company of the German Daimler AG, in Koelleda, central Germany
© AP Photo/ Jens Meyer
Workers complete the new four-cylinder diesel engine OM 654 during the official start of production in the MDC Power GmbH, a company of the German Daimler AG, in Koelleda, central Germany

Britain

UK workers make $9.70 per hour minimum, which is high compared to other countries. To make things better for their working poor, the British government decided to increase the minimum wage to $10.40 beginning April 1, 2016.

Workers sit on the underground tracks of the Mail Rail, the old rail system that transported mail between sorting offices, as work starts to turn it into a heritage attraction at the new Postal Museum in London
© AFP 2016/ CHRIS RATCLIFFE
Workers sit on the underground tracks of the Mail Rail, the old rail system that transported mail between sorting offices, as work starts to turn it into a heritage attraction at the new Postal Museum in London

Australia

Australia's minimum wage workers make $12.10. The government recognizes that supporting low wage workers is important for the economy and gives out awards, agreements that guarantee all workers in one industry, occupation or geographic regions the same minimum wage and employment conditions. These awards are generally higher than the government-set minimum wage across the country.

Workers check a joint they have welded on the Alice Springs to Darwin railway line near Adelaide River, Australia. (File)
© AP Photo/ Mark Baker
Workers check a joint they have welded on the Alice Springs to Darwin railway line near Adelaide River, Australia. (File)

France

The French government provides pretty good conditions for its minimum wage workers — $10.90 per hour. Employees who are younger than 18, however, can only get 80 percent from the national minimum wage. Still not bad, considering that most of them live with their parents anyways.

Workers preparing Fourme de Montbrison cheese at the Hautes Chaumes dairy in Sauvain, near Montbrison, central France
© AFP 2016/ PHILIPPE MERLE
Workers preparing "Fourme de Montbrison" cheese at the Hautes Chaumes dairy in Sauvain, near Montbrison, central France

Canada

Every Canadian province and territory has its own minimum wage rates, which ranges between $8.10 and $9.61. Considering the cost of living is higher in Canada than in the United States, many argue the current minimum wage levels are insufficient to sustain a decent living, especially in the country's northern regions where the prices of goods are higher than in bigger southern cities.

Workers unload Lake Erie fish from a tug docked at Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. (File)
© AP Photo/ John Flesher
Workers unload Lake Erie fish from a tug docked at Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. (File)

Brazil

Each Brazilian state sets its own minimum wage. However, regional minimum wages can't be lower than the country's federal wage floor, adjusted by the government every year. Currently, the minimum wage in Brazil is $310 per month, which equals to $2.2 per hour calculated based on a 40-hour work week.

Workers make rabbit head-shaped chocolate cakes, at the production line of a chocolate factory, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during Easter. (File)
© AFP 2016/ MAURICIO LIMA
Workers make rabbit head-shaped chocolate cakes, at the production line of a chocolate factory, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during Easter. (File)

Poland

Poland has one of the lowest minimum wage rates across the European Union (EU) — $2.7 per hour.

Apples are packed in a Polish fruit factory Rajpol in Wola Leczyszycka
© AFP 2016/ JANEK SKARZYNSKI
Apples are packed in a Polish fruit factory Rajpol in Wola Leczyszycka

South Korea

Despite the fact that the South Korean economy has been steadily growing over the past several decades, the country hasn't had the best remuneration benefits for its minimum wage workers. As of now it stands at $5 per hour.

South Korean workers build stairs near the main grand stand at the Korean International Circuit under construction ahead Formula One's Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam, 320 km south of Seoul. (File)
© AFP 2016/ JUNG YEON-JE
South Korean workers build stairs near the main grand stand at the Korean International Circuit under construction ahead Formula One's Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam, 320 km south of Seoul. (File)

Related:
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US Should Raise Minimum Wage to Fight Spread of Poverty - Advocacy Group
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Tags:
standard of living, minimum wage, European Union, A Just Russia party, Japan, China, Britain, France, United States, Russia
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  • JPH
    Meaningless comparison without taking into account purchasing power.
  • Anton KOMAROVin reply toJPH(Show commentHide comment)
    JPH, correct absolutely correct
  • rmauchs5
    with out limiting maximum wage , minimum wage means nothing . this sounds like "western" journalist propaganda type reporting
  • I think this article is a great starting point. It is very informative. I agree with the other comments that it is not complete without cost of living information. $26,000 a year is a lot more in a very poor country than in New York City. Even in the US, there is a huge difference between living cost in Washington DC or rural Virginia. But I think this is a good starting point. Another question is about income as technology and automation replaced human workers. Are people going to be paid more for doing less?
  • Another interesting point of this discussion is how the same people in the US who demand the highest minimum wage also demand no photo ID checks at voting polls. How does that make any sense? We don't even question who is a registered voter?
  • Alberta Province in Canada.. $11.20 minimum wage. This article should be removed, as the wages are not correct..
  • Nik Pavlovin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    CelestialJester, it's $11.20 Canadian which is less than $9 USD...
  • enrique_costas
    It should be compared to countries with similar income por head
  • The cost of living is the biggest factor regarding wages. Australias cost of living is one of the highest in the world but yet the so called governments idea of a minimum wage is way under valued. In Australia the national minimum wage is currently A$17.29 per hour (US13.00) or A$656.90 per 38 hour week (before tax) . Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25 per cent casual loading. But with the actual cost of living, most of that income is spent. As example, to rent a one bedroom apartment around Melbourne is around $1,300 per mth or over $325 a week, a 3 bedroom apartment is nearly$2000 per mth or $500 per week. A six pack of local beer is over $16.00 and a packet of cigarettes over $25.00 Then all the other cost of food,transport, utilities, etc. and EVERYTHING is taxed by the government. Of course it is much cheaper to live in the bush but also very low wages and conveniences. Australia is a lot better than most but to ever make here you have to really EARN your living!!! Check the link for global cost of living pricing:
    www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living
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