The average nominal monthly wage of an employee in Slovakia in the second quarter of this year went up by 6.4 percent y-o-y to €1,004, exceeding the €1,000 threshold for the first time in the history of independent Slovakia. The Slovak Statistics Office reported the latest wage statistics on September 7, adding that the lower increase in consumer prices compared to nominal salary growth was affected by the development of real salary that went up by 3.5 percent in annual terms.
Of the country’s eight regions, only the Bratislava Region had a higher-than-average, average nominal monthly salary (€1,258). The average salaries in the remaining regions ranged between €758 in the Prešov Region and €942 in the Trnava Region. All regions recorded y-o-y increases in the second quarter of 2018, with the biggest accretions being 9.1 percent seen in the Nitra Region and 8.2 percent in the Žilina Region.
The highest average nominal monthly salaries in the period concerned were recorded in the areas of financial and insurance activities (€1,991), in information and communications activities (€1,772) and in supplies of electricity, gas and steam (€1,626).
Conversely, the lowest average nominal salaries were recorded in accommodation and catering services (€567), in other activities (€643) and in construction (€715).
Wages increase, but at a lower pace compared with neighbouring countries
Non-partisan deputy Miroslav Beblavý points out that the Czech Republic and Hungary have enjoyed a doubled increase in wages over the last two years compared with Slovakia. In Poland wages are growing faster than in Slovakia, too.
Since the current coalition government of Smer, Most-Híd and the Slovak National Party (SNS) took power in March 2016, until the second quarter of 2018, wages in Slovakia grew by 11.4 percent on average. In Poland it was, when calculated in euros, 14 percent, the Czech Republic 21 percent and in Hungary 22 percent.
He attributes the lower increase in wages in Slovakia to the way Robert Fico, and now Peter Pellegrini, have managed the country. He also criticised the too rapid increase of the minimum wage. However, this applies only to people with the lowest incomes but fails to have any meaningful impact for others.
On the contrary, the most significant factor influencing incomes in all brackets is public sector salaries.
“This is because the public sector as an employer competes with the rest of the economy; it’s the largest employer in the country and sets the trend,” said Beblavý, as cited by the TASR newswire. “And the government of Robert Fico has ignored the salaries of public employees for a long time.”
This practice opened the door for employers to avoid giving people higher salaries, said Beblavý, adding that the cabinet also failed to ensure that Slovakia would evolve into anything other than a country with a cheap labour force.
Beblavý wants to redress the situation with cuts in payroll deductions and levies, which would leave more money in people’s pockets. He plans to submit respective legislation to that end at the next parliamentary session.