Bulgaria 'Cannot Base Economy on Low Salaries' - Social MinisterDomestic | August 10, 2015, Monday // 10:41| views
Bulgaria's Deputy PM and Social Policy Minister Ivaylo Kalfin. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria cannot develop its economy by merely keeping salaries low, Deputy PM and Social Policy Minister Ivaylo Kalfin has said.
Kalfin has reminded, in an interview with the Bulgarian News Agency, that 11% of the labor force is earning minimum wages at the moment.
His comments have come in response to protests by businesses against a planned increase in the minimum wage planned for next year.
There have been two increases in the minimum wages this year, from BGN 340 (EUR 170) to BGN 360 (EUR 180) as of January 1 and to BGN 380 as of July 1.
Businesses are now worried that early plans for a new hike next year might hamper competitiveness.
Kalfin, however, has stressed that cheap labor is not enough to make an employer competitive and productive, and that issues such as investment and energy efficient technologies have to be considered.
He has pointed to the still existing gap between wages earned by men and women (the former have an average income on a national level that is 13.4% higher).
Kalfin is now determined to submit in the autumn a bill which will help fight sex-based discrimination at work. He has added that the draft law will entail bigger opportunities for young mothers to pursue a career and earn enough to be able to look after their children.
Bulgaria has the lowest minimum wage in the EU (among member states where such a threshold has been introduced) according to Eurostat data.
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