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MALTATODAY 31 October 2021

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 31 OCTOBER 2021 NEWS The Environmental Health Directorate is accepting applications for the purchase of new graves at Addolorata Cemetry Applications can be obtained from: Environmental Health Directorate Continental Business Centre, Level 1 Triq il-Ferrovija Sta Venera SVR 9018 Burials Regulatory Unit Malta: minimum-wage earners likelier to endure material deprivation 21% of minimum wage earners suffer material deprivation, highest across EU JAMES DEBONO ACROSS Europe mini- mum-wage workers are much more likely to live in materially deprived households, but that percentage is higher in Malta than in most other EU member states, particularly those with considerably higher minimum wages. Data published by Eurofound, an EU agency for the improve- ment of living and working conditions, shows that 15% of minimum wage earners in the EU live in materially deprived households, compared to 6% among the rest of employees. Yet in Malta the same da- ta shows that 21% of mini- mum-wage earners in Malta live in materially deprived house- holds, compared to just 5% among the rest of employees. Across countries, the extent of employees affected by house- hold material deprivation varies greatly: from above 20% in sev- eral central and eastern Euro- pean Member States (Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia), Greece and Malta, to below 10% in the Benelux countries and Germany. While in Greece over 45% of minimum-wage earners live in material deprivation, in Lux- embourg and Netherlands only about 5% of workers in the same category live in material depri- vation. This suggests that countries with a higher minimum wage have the least percentage of such workers living in pover- ty. Luxembourg, for example, has a monthly minimum wage of €2209 and the Netherlands a minimum wage of €1685 com- pared to Malta's €785. Material deprivation captures the capacity of the household to afford several items consid- ered desirable to enjoy adequate living standards, such as being able to pay the rent, keeping the house warm, facing unexpected expenses, going on holidays, and having a washing machine. The Eurofound study also shows that across Europe wom- en are over-represented in the minimum wage bracket. This is reflected in a higher percentage of minimum wage earners among female employ- ees (8.7%) than among male employees (5%), and women account for more than 60% of minimum wage earners. In con- trast in Malta, slightly less than 50% of minimum-wage earners are women but one still finds a higher percentage among female employees (5%) than among males (4%). In almost every Member State, more than half of the total num- ber of minimum wage earners are women – in some countries, this rate reaches two-thirds, for example in Slovakia, Czechia, Belgium and Latvia. This is be- cause women are more likely to work in these lowest-paid sec- tors and occupations. In 2019, around 7% of employ- ees in the EU were statutory minimum wage earners – that is, earning no more than 10% above or below the minimum wage rate in each Member State. Across countries, this rate rang- es from 10-15% in several central and eastern European Member States (Romania, Poland, Bul- garia and Lithuania) and Portu- gal to less than 4% in Czechia, the Netherlands and Slovenia. In Malta circa 5% of workers fall in this category.

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