TIRANA, December 28
Despite the decision of Albanian authorities for increasing the minimum wage from Lek 24,000 to Lek 26,000 per month starting January 1st, Albania still ranks among the European countries with the lowest minimum wages. According to the decision, the hourly minimum wage will increase from Lek 137 to Lek 149 or 1.37 US dollars. Compared to the countries of the region, Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest minimum wage per hour at $2.18, Serbia $1.4, Macedonia $1.29, Montenegro $1.27, Kosovo $1.2.
In the meantime, representatives from business sectors reacted following the government’s decision. The decision is expected to have a negative impact on the footwear and manufacturing industry. Based on the official statistics, the sector employs over 100,000 people all over Albania. Most of the companies operating in this sector depend on the cheap labor force. Representatives from the industry say that the decision will increase costs. They also highlight that the decision was taken without consultations with stakeholders. Moreover, the sector saw a 9 percent profit decline due to the Euro depreciation. Moreover, business representatives said that they were not given reimbursement of their VAT payment. On the other hand, there are companies in the sector that pay higher salaries that the new minimum wage.
News Source: Scan TV, TCH, Monitor