How many days does it take to work in Europe to pay the gas and electricity bills?

How many days does it take to work in Europe to pay the gas and electricity bills?

How many days does it take to work in Europe to pay the gas and electricity bills?

According to the European trade union confederation, a worker paid with the minimum wage must work 30 days in France for heating and lighting, compared to 48 in the Netherlands and 54 in Greece. And the average French employee has to work one more day than in 2021 while the Italian dedicates 9 more days to us.

The European Trade Union Confederation has undertaken an interesting exercise. It calculated in number of days the time it took to work to pay the annual energy bills of each EU country (in July of this year). This makes comparisons more relevant, as income inequalities are taken into account.

And what do we see when we read this data? First, for an employee paid at the minimum wage, it is in France, Romania and Hungary that it takes fewer days (30) to pay his annual bills. While 65 serve in the Czech Republic, 54 in Greece or Estonia and 48 in the Netherlands.

Number of working days for the payment of heating and electricity bills (employee paid at the minimum wage)
Number of working days to pay heating and electricity bills (employee paid at minimum wage) © BFMTV

1 day more than in 2021 in France, 10 days in the Netherlands

But not all EU countries impose a minimum wage on their companies. The European Trade Union Confederation therefore made the same calculation with the average wage. As a result, France is in the top third of countries where the number of days to work is the lowest with a total of 20. This is more than 11 days for Lithuanians or 14 days for Luxembourgers, but it is still much less than the 36 days of the Greeks and 33 days of the Czechs.

Number of working days to pay heating and electricity bills (average country paid employee)
Number of working days to pay heating and electricity bills (average paid employee in the country) © BFMTV

But to measure the impact of the surge in energy prices, it is also necessary to look at the evolution of this number of days between 2021 and 2022: one more in France, as in Luxembourg. So we need ten more in the Netherlands (24 against 14 last year) and in Greece (36 against 26) and nine in Italy (30 against 21).

Paid € 4100, the average German worker has to work longer than the French to pay the bills

Last year, the average Spanish worker, like the Belgian, was however in more or less the same situation as the French, with 19-20 working days to pay these bills. This year they find themselves having to work 4 to 5 more days. Like the average German worker (paid 4100 euros gross per month) but who now has to work one more day than the French to pay for gas and electricity.

The explanation is simple. France has implemented an expensive tariff shield on gas and electricity prices, which explains this weaker impact of rising energy prices on household balance sheets.

Pierre Kupfermann

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