PRAGUE, May 18 (Reuters) - The Czech government plans to raise the monthly minimum wage by 11 percent next year, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told lawmakers on Thursday.
If approved by the cabinet, it would be the sixth increase of the minimum wage in as many years, reflecting solid growth in the Czech economy, which now has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union.
The pre-tax minimum monthly wage will be increased to 12,200 crowns ($509.48) from January 2018, compared with 11,000 crowns now, government spokesman Martin Ayrer said on his Twitter account.
That would take the minimum wage to more than 40 percent of the Czech average, which was 27,589 crowns a month last year, a long-term goal of Sobotka's centre-left government.
Sobotka said the rise should be approved by mid-year. There are slightly more than 100,000 people who receive the minimum wage, or around 3 percent of the workforce.
Gross domestic product grew by 2.9 percent annually in the first quarter, while unemployment dropped to 4.4 percent.
Czech companies had 159,072 job vacancies in April while there were 327,199 people registered as unemployed.
$1 = 23.9460 Czech crowns Reporting by Robert Muller