Minimal Wage Comparison (Between USA, the UK and Latvia)


I read an article about staff wages in USA for a Walmart employee, inappropriately called ‘associate’, which made me want to do a quick comparison as I was wondering how much different exactly are the wages between the three economies I follow.

So in my example I have chosen minimal hourly rates assuming it’s 40 hours per week. And I’ve shown the difference in hourly rates as well as gross and net income comparison.

  • All figures are re-stated in British Pounds (GBP) and values are up to date from respective official websites.
  • Rates: US: $7.25; UK: £6.31 (aged 21+); Latvia: Ls 1.203.
  • Deductions (all mandatory): US: Federal Tax, Social Security; UK: Income Tax, National Insurance; :Latvia: Income Tax, Social/Health contributions.


  1. The most obvious conclusions I can draw is the level of taxes levied on even the most basic salary (and that’s as stated before 0 when one’s employed full-time, 40 hours a week).
  2. Another interesting figure is the contrasting difference in net wages between two developed countries and yet a person in UK would get £525 per month / £6,305 per year more than similar employee in US and that’s given the similar standard and cost of living.
  3. Likewise, in Latvia net wages is only £270.61 a month / £3,247 a year less than in United States but considering the much lower cost of living it seems that the purchasing power in this example is in favour of minimal wage worker living in Latvia, not the one in US.

Another important aspect worth noting is that in the EU (so in Latvia and the UK as well) employees are guaranteed to get 4 weeks paid holidays every year where in US the state or federal law does not dictate such requirement (although it’s common to give paid or unpaid days off the more senior you get in your career).

The reason for this article was to give a ‘snapshot’ comparison and I hope someone will find this useful and insightful.


p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to all those on the other side of Atlantic from the UK!

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