Report shows 28% of Europeans can’t afford vacations

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Although access to vacations has increased over the past decade, new search by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) shows that 28% of people in Europe still cannot afford it.

The study shows that around 35 million Europeans are currently unable to afford a week’s vacation away from home. This includes more than half of all working low income.

Italy had the largest number of people in this category with around 7 million. Next come Spain (4.7 million), Germany (4.3 million), France (3.6 million) and Poland (3.1 million).

The report also shows that 59.5% of people with incomes below the “at risk of poverty” threshold – which is set at 60% of the national median equivalised disposable income – could not afford to go on vacation.

Many of the people in the “at risk of poverty” group are retired, disabled or unemployed. However, a growing number of low-paid workers earn the statutory minimum wage.

The country with the highest proportion of people at risk of poverty and unable to afford a break was Greece, at 88.9%. Next come Romania (86.8%), Croatia (84.7%), Cyprus (79.2%) and Slovakia (76.1%).

In addition, data held by Eurostat show that over the last ten years holiday inequality has increased in 16 Member States between low-income and high-income people. This shows how the economic benefits have not been felt in the same way.

The most important divisions are currently in Greece, Bulgaria, France, Czechia and Croatia. However, other EU countries have also seen an economic gap widening.

Currently, 21 Member States have a statutory minimum wage. The other six – Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden – have wages determined by collective bargaining.

One of the priorities of the European Trade Union Confederation is to work with member states to ensure that minimum wages are high enough – ideally no less than 60% of the median wage.

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