Global Minimum Wage

Fast-food workers strike over wages

A diner watches strikers marching outside a Wendy's restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts August 29, 2013, as a part of a nationwide fast food workers' strike asking for $15 per hour wages and the right to form unions.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Fast-food workers staged strikes at McDonald's and Burger Kings, and demonstrated at other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thursday in their latest action in a nearly year-long campaign to raise wages in the service sector.  Full Article | Video 

America on $7.25 an hour

Javier Alava, 27, receives his check for working at an auto store in Long Island, New York, May 30, 2013. Alava works for an auto store and makes just above the national minimum wage, not exceeding eight dollars an hour. Alava commutes daily from Brooklyn by subway to Long Island which takes him about an hour. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Federal minimum wage in the United States currently stands at $7.25 an hour, or $1,200-1,300 per month, and hasn't been raised since 2009. Its place relative to the median wage -- less than 40 percent -- makes it one of the lowest minimum wages across OECD countries. In most states, that $7.25 only stands if workers are not tipped. Companies that have tipped workers are required only to pay them $2.13 in cash, on the assumption that tips will make up the rest. Last January, in his annual State of the Union speech, President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour. However, the issue is politically fraught in the US, and his proposal has not made it past the legislature.  Slideshow 

China on $264 a month

Dai Yusheng (front), 58, who works as an employee sweeping the streets of the Shanghai's Hongkou district, walks near a shopping mall during a rainy day May 31, 2013. Dai works as a cleaning personnel for a company that is contracted by Shanghai Municipal government. He makes 14RMBs per hour ($US2.28). He usually works from 4am in the morning to 1pm 6 days a week. Dai and his wife rent a 3x4 meter room at a slam near his work area. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

China's minimum wage is set per province, with municipal governments determining rates according to local conditions and adhering to a mandatory, nation-wide increase every two years. This year, Shanghai raised its monthly minimum wage from 1,450 to 1,620 Renminbi ($237-$265), making Shanghai's monthly minimum wage rate the highest in China. In February, officials announced a plan to increase the minimum wage throughout the state by 40 percent in the next two years, hoping to narrow the widening gap between rich and poor.  Slideshow 

Brazil on $287 a month

Sueli Paes Alecrin, 48, cries while viewing a monthly bank statement of benefit withdrawals in the city of Aguas Lindas, about 50 km (31 miles) from Brasilia, August 2, 2013. Sueli takes care of her 11-year-old daughter Amanda Suellen Lima who has cerebral palsy. She lives on a minimum wage of R$678 per month (US$294), which she receives through social assistance because of her daughter's condition, which is part of a government program offered by the National Insurance Institute (INSS) and the Ministry of Social Development and Fighting Hunger.  REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

In January 2011, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced a plan to eradicate extreme poverty in Brazil. "Brasil Sem Miseria" focused on bringing families into the middle class via cash transfers and increased access to public services like education, health and welfare. In January of this year, Brazil bumped the monthly minimum wage by 9 percent to 678 reais per month ($286). But the anti-poverty initiative and years of steady wage increase didn't prevent tens of thousands of Brazilians from taking to the streets in June to protest - among other things - poor public services.  Slideshow 

France on $1,890 a month

Susanna Dimitri brushes her hair at her apartment in Paris May 24, 2013. Dimitri, 29, works in Paris as a teacher, model and part-time performing artist (Intermittent du spectacle) in France. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The French enjoy one of the highest minimum wage rates in the European Union, thanks to President Francois Hollande's decision to increase minimum wage beyond inflation as of July 1, 2012. Now, minimum wage earners bring home 1,430 euros per month ($1,894) for a 35 hour work-week. France's unique Intermittent du spectacle policy, which grants special unemployment benefits to artists, is a boon for Parisians such as Susanna Dimitri, 29. But the program is up for review, and despite France's best efforts to maintain protectionists artistic policies, may be subject to cuts recommended by the European Commision.   Slideshow 

Portugal on $747 a month

Nelson Tavares, 24, originally from Cape Verde, works on a graffiti of Nelson Mandela which he painted during festivities in his neighborhood in Lisbon June 20, 2013. Tavares works at a printing company where he charges the Portuguese minimum wage of 485 Euros. He studied at the school of arts, and is now preparing his first exhibition of paintings. Tavares lives with his parents. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

The minimum wage in Portugal is 485 euros ($642) in 14 installments, or 565 euros ($748) adjusted to monthly installments. it increased steadily from 1999 to 2009 -- from 357 euros ($473) to 525 euros ($695) -- but has barely budged since the financial crisis. Portugal is at the median minimum wage for European Union countries, but pays significantly less than neighboring Spain, which has a minimum monthly wage of 753 euros ($997). The Portuguese economy is still struggling with post-euro crisis austerity, and unemployment stands at 17 percent. However, the economy has shown glimmers of improvement since mid-2013.  Slideshow 

Bolivia on $118 a month

Rufina Condori, 34, who works as a maid, irons clothes in La Paz June 11, 2013. Condori works two jobs, which in total means she receives the monthly minimum wage equivalent to approximately $170.  REUTERS/David Mercado

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. The Bolivian minimum wage is 815 bolivianos ($118), where it has been since the minister of Labor, Felix Rojas, raised the minimum wage by 20 percent back in 2011. It has more than doubled since 2001.  Slideshow 

Hungary on $440 a month

Hungarian public worker Gabriella Bundi (in purple), 44, crosses the street with her colleagues in Debrecen, 240 km (149 miles) east of Budapest, May 29, 2013. Gabriella, who has been unemployed for three years, takes temporary menial work mandated by the government in exchange for unemployment benefits. He husband works odd jobs. From this and meagre social benefits, she and her husband bring home about 250,000 forints, or $1,200 per month. The couple have five children, a son-in-law and a grandchild living in their home.  REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

At 332 euros per month ($440), Hungary's is one of the lowest minimum wage rates in the European Union. Unemployment remained steady at 10.9 percent from 2011 to 2012, a period in which all but two EU member states saw a change in the employment rate. In 2011, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced a public works program that requires those who have been unemployed for more than 180 days to work for the government in order to continue receiving unemployment benefits.   Full Article 

Australia on $15 an hour

Clare Mason prepares to change the nappy of a young girl at the Gujaga Child Care Centre La Perouse June 18, 2013. Mason earns the minimum wage in Australia that stands officially at A$15.96 per hour. Her duties include feeding, playing and participating in educational activities for the young children who are dropped at the centre by their parents during their work day. She admits that after paying her living expenses for the week that include A$150 for rent, A$80 for food, A$60 for a phone, A$30 for petrol, and A$200 for entertainment, she saves about A$20 a week. REUTERS/David Gray

Australia has one of the highest minimum wages in the world, which was raised to AUS $16.37 an hour ($14.62) from AUS $15.96 an hour in June 2013. However, AUS $16.37 is only mandated for adults over the age of 21, so young workers can make less than half that, based on a scale that goes up with age. Apprentices are also covered under a different scale, which functions as a percentage of the minimum wage based on the number of years of apprenticeship. Like the U.S., the minimum wage varies from state to state, so in some areas of the country, it is even higher.  Slideshow 

Greece on $5 an hour

Dimitrios Zaroulas, 24, poses with the Athens Acropolis in the background May 29, 2013.  Zaroulas studied journalism, but works as a waiter in a fish tavern in an Athens suburb where he earns 4 euros per hour. He briefly worked as a journalist on websites and at a local paper in the Palaio Faliro municipality. He lives in a 90 square-meter, two-bedroom flat with his parents and his 31-year-old sister, who shares a bedroom with him. Zaroulas commutes from home to work and back by tram. After finishing high school he served in the Greek army for nine months, which is mandatory for male Greeks.  REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

At 24, Dimitrios Zaroulas is among those hit especially hard by Greece's minimum wage cut, which placed the burden of Greek debt on workers below the age of 25. Last year, Greece slashed the monthly minimum wage of 751 euros ($995) by 22 percent for workers 25 and older, and by 32 percent for those 24 and younger. Dimitrios brings home 4 euros per hour. Facing a sixth year of recession and lower-than-expected tax revenues, Greece could negotiate for extra time to pay back its loan. Young Greeks have been hit especially hard by the crisis, with youth unemployment hovering around 60 percent. Dimitrios is one of the many struggling to make ends meet, working as a waiter in a fish tavern after earning a journalism degree and serving in the Greek army for nine months.   Slideshow 

Mexico on $5 a day

Jorge, 60, poses for a photograph as he holds $100 Mexicans at "La antigua Roma" pulqueria in downtown Mexico City July 24, 2013. Jorge, who suffers from advanced deafness, has worked as a barman at a pulqueria for eleven hours a day for over 30 years and earns eight dollars per day. Jorge's salary does not allow him to rent a house and he lives with the family of his wife on the outskirts of the city from where he travels for two hours to get to work. Pulque is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico's general minimum wage rose slightly in 2013, reaching 64.76 pesos per day in Zone A ($4.85) and 61.38 pesos per day in Zone B ($4.60). The increase marks a 3.9 percent increase from last year - lower than the 4.2 percent minimum wage rise between 2011-2012, and lags behind the country's inflation rate. Mexico enjoys the second largest economy in Latin America, but low production costs mean low wages for workers, leaving roughly 45 percent of Mexicans in the ranks of the poor.   Slideshow