The minimum wage is a traditional instrument of economic policy which generate contradictory reactions. All Member States of the European Union have introduced some wage thresholds and most of them use the statutory minimum wage. The development of the minimum wage is very often affected by the state of the labour market. The main aims of this article is to analyse the differences in development of the minimum wage before and during the economic crises which hit the European countries. In this respect, the development of the nominal minimum wage in the period 2005-2013 is considered. The key factor which effects purchasing power of people on the minimum wage is the development of the price level. The development of the real minimum wage in these two time periods is compared. According to established opinions the minimum wage has a negative impact on employment. The influence of the minimum wage on unemployment in the European Union is analysed in the last part of the article.
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