UK minimum wage is double US rate and third highest in Europe

The UK’s minimum wage is the third highest in the European Union, and almost twice the level of the US, according to a new report.

Research 
conducted by Eurostat,
the European Union’s statistical office
, found that the legal minimum monthly pay in the UK in January was £920 (1,361 euro), behind only Luxembourg with £1,060 (1,570 euro) and Ireland with £948 (1,403 euro).

The minimum wage in the US is worth only £456 (676 euro) a month, but is set to rise for the first time in a decade, increasing from £2.60 ($5.15) an hour to £2.94 ($5.85) next month.

Countries that have only joined the EU in the past three years fared the worst, including Bulgaria, where the minimum wage is worth only £62 (92 euro) a month, followed by Romania with £77 (114 euro) and Latvia with £116 (172 euro).

The research also pointed to the proportion of employees on minimum wages in 2005, with Spain (0.8%), Malta (1.5%), Slovakia (1.7%), and the UK (1.8%) all dipping under 2%, with France having the highest proportion of low-paid workers at 16.8%, followed by Bulgaria (16%), Latvia (12%), Luxembourg (11%) and Lithuania (10.3%).

In the US, 1.3% of employees received the minimum wage.

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