Household sample surveys are carried out to assess living standards in Belarus. Low-income households are people whose per capita income is below the subsistence level. In 2020 the average per capita minimum subsistence budget in Belarus was Br253.5, and on 1 February 2021 it increased to Br262.87. Deputy Economy Minister Tatyana Brantsevich told BelTA about living standards in our country and the results achieved in recent years.
Over the past 20 years, the poverty rate in Belarus dropped almost nine times - from 41.9% in 2000 to 4.8% in 2020. “The poverty rate in the country is comparable to that of Kazakhstan (4.6% in Q4 2020) and is significantly lower than in other EAEU countries. For example, the poverty rate in Russia is 13.3%, in Kyrgyzstan 20.1%, in Armenia – 26.4%,” Tatyana Brantsevich said.
In 2020, despite the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the real disposable income rose by 4.6% in Belarus. In this respect Belarus did better than other EAEU countries. For comparison, in 2020 the real money income index in Russia was 96.5%, in Kazakhstan 101.1%, and in Kyrgyzstan 95% (in January-September 2020).
Naturally, salaries make up the bulk of the household income. In Belarus, the pay gap is rather small.
Speaking about the average salary, Tatyana Brantsevich noted that by the end of 2020 it amounted to Br1,250.9, up by 8.2% in real terms. In February 2021 it amounted to Br1,277.1 (4.2%).
“The share of employees with salaries below Br500 dropped from 24.4% in 2018 to 13.2% in 2020,” she said.
Salaries of less than Br500 were paid to 298,100 people, of whom 28.7% were employed in education, 18.8% in agriculture, 12.1% in manufacturing, 11.6% in healthcare and social services.
According to the deputy minister, a significant number of employees receive low salaries for objective reasons. “As of November 2020, 55.8% of people who were paid less than minimum wage worked part-time,” she explained.
Tatyana Brantsevich believes that this issue should be approached comprehensively.
In the current five-year period, salaries of certain groups of public sector employees will be gradually increased: the salaries of teachers will be raised to the country's average, doctors' salaries will be 1.5 times higher than the country's average, those of nursing staff - up to 90% of the country's average, and salaries of social workers and cultural workers will be up to 80% of the country's average.
The deputy minister stressed that it is necessary to identify and prevent envelope salaries. Close attention should be paid to employers who systematically pay small salaries.