The media report the first information on prognoses made by the Ministry of Finance regarding the value of basic macroeconomic indexes to be presented in the annual update of the Convergence Program. Usually the government uses such prognoses when elaborating guidelines for next year’s budget. Knowing these values, one can calculate the lowest legal value of minimum wage in 2016.
According to the Minimum Wage Act, minimum wage should be valorized at least by the prognosed value of the inflation index and if the minimum wage is lower than 50 percent of the average wage (as is the case this year), it is also increased by 2/3 of prognosed GDP dynamics. Before that, prognosis errors for inflation are also corrected using the so-called verification index.
The verification index is calculated by dividing the real inflation index in 2014 by the value of inflation prognosed in the budget for 2014. The resulting value is 0.976563. As the minimum wage for 2015 is 1750 PLN, the value after including the verification index will be 1708.98 PLN.
Media reports and the official MF document show that the prognosed GDP growth for 2016 is 3.8 percent and the prognosed inflation is 1.7 percent. This means that the corrected minimum wage should be increased by 1.7 percent + (3.8 percent x 2/3) = 4.233333 percent. Thus, the final value of minimum wage is 1708.98 x (1+4.233333 percent) = 1781.33, or 1782 PLN after rounding up.
In principle, the final value of the minimum wage is negotiated in the Tripartite Commission for Socioeconomic Affairs and the value calculated above is only its lower limit. In practice, however, this decision is usually made independently by the government, without taking the opinions of social partners into account. In our opinion, the minimum wage should not be higher than the minimum value, because – as GUS data shows – unemployment is bigger in areas where the minimum wage is higher than ca. 50 percent of the average wage in a given region.
Łukasz Kozłowski, expert of Employers of Poland