Lithuania Boosts Minimum Wage 17.6% in Second Increase in a Year

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania’s new government signed off on a 17.6 percent increase in the minimum wage to fulfill pre-election promises, the second time the country has raised the rate in less than a year.

The minimum wage effective Jan. 1 will be 1,000 litai ($385) a month, up from 850 litai since July and 800 litai before that, according to a decree approved today, the government in the capital Vilnius said in an e-mailed statement.

“We’re starting to implement the pledges given to voters,” Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, who took office last week with his four-party Cabinet, said in the statement.

The change will improve living standards for about 200,000 workers in the Baltic nation of 3 million people, including about 50,000 public sector employees, the government said.

A working group including industry representatives will by Feb. 1 propose possibly applying a lower minimum-wage requirement to small and mid-sized companies so that they aren’t tempted to fire workers or pay wages illegally, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net