The coronavirus crisis has sparked new debate about the minimum wage. Unions are pushing for a sizable increase but employers and the opposition have come out against this.
At present the minimum monthly wage in the Czech Republic stands at CZK 14,600. The head of the country’s Confederation of Trade Unions, Josef Středula, says this figure should be increased to CZK 16,000, Czech Television reported.
However, the head of the country’s Confederation of Industry, Jaroslav Hanák, told Czech Television that employers were focused on keeping afloat at present.
Mr. Hanák said his members were struggling with a lack of liquidity and at risk of insolvency in the longer run, so their outlook was utterly different.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says his government plans to increase the minimum wage in 2021.
The minimum wage has risen by more than CZK 1,000 each year in the last four years, Czech Television said. January 1, 2020 saw the biggest single increase ever, of CZK 1,250.
The cabinet is set to discuss the matter in the autumn, with the state of the economy and unemployment rate at that time set to be major factors, Czech Television said.
Unions chief Středula argues that the next jump should be of CZK 1,400, arguing that only an increase in the minimum salary would boost confidence in the future of the economy.
While government leaders ANO, junior partners the Social Democrats and the Communists, who back the minority government on key votes, are all for an increase, the right-wing opposition parties are against.
For her part TOP 09 leader Markéta Pekarová Adamová said the move would cause major problems for many Czech employers.
President Miloš Zeman said in April that everybody would have to tighten their belts. He said it was very likely the minimum wage would be frozen, describing this as a rational measure.
The minimum wage is set by the government alone and increases do not need to be approved by Parliament.