Which head of state is paid most?

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A selection of Heads of State and Government for the 35 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) were surveyed for their income and how their salaries fare between them and in comparison to the country’s mean and basic salaries.

According to this report by IG GROUP, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball was the highest-earner of OECD countries studied with €428,306. Donald Trump, the US’ first billionaire president, came third with €324,564 and was sandwiched by Switzerland’s Berset and Germany’s Merkel who earns €369,727. Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister is the lowest-earning leader with €46,876.

The highest paid Head of State is Britain’s Queen Elizabeth who gets a sovereign grant worth €87 million. This income dwarfs the earnings of other heads of state. Belgium’s King Philippe takes earns a more modest €11.7m, while Denmark’s Margrethe II is handed €10.9m. Spain’s Felipe VI is the worst paid with €239,000 a year. The least paid is the President of the Czech Republic, who earns a mere € 9,947.The Polish President is the second least paid amongst those researched with a salary of €56,820.

There are several monarchs in Europe whose salary is unknown or undisclosed, according to the study’s authors. The study also compared leaders’ and monarchs’ basic salaries with average wages in that country.

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, is the OECD leader furthest from the earnings of the average worker. He takes home a basic salary €135,000 that is nearly 11 times that of an average wage in Mexico. Switzerland’s President Berset and Germany’s Merkel earn eight times as much — the highest of the European countries studied. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar were among the lowest in Europe, earning around two-and-a-half times that of an average salary.

Any Heads of State or Government from these countries who do not receive a base salary, and instead receive an undisclosed form of compensation or unknown salary, have not been included in this piece. The individuals that have not been included for these reasons are Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, King Harald V of Norway, Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia, Andrej Kiska of Slovakia, Jüri Ratas of Estonia, Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic and Lee Nak-yeon of South Korea.

The term ‘base pay’ has been used as a general term for the base income that royal figures and politicians receive for their stated role. Salaries may or may not include undisclosed supplements. The Polish Prime Minister’s salary includes an additional bonus of 5-20%; for the purposes of this piece, his salary was calculated on the basis of a 5% additional bonus. In Switzerland the President of the Confederation is elected from within the seven federal councillors and is the presiding member of the Swiss Federal Council. As the entire Federal Council is considered to be the collective head of state, his role is ceremonial. The term length is one year and the current President, Alain Berset, has been considered to be the head of government, to facilitate the creation of Pay Check. The Federal Chancellor is the head of the Federal Chancellery of Switzerland, but is not a member of the government. Consequently, the incumbent Chancellor, Walter Thurnherr, has been included in Pay Check as Switzerland’s head of state. For the sake of comparison with her taxpaying country, Queen Elizabeth II has only been compared with the UK as their Head of State, excluding New Zealand, Australia and Canada from this category.

GDP, GDP per Capita and salaries in local currencies have been converted to USD, EUR and GBP using IG.com rates at close on 22nd March 2018. Any salaries that were originally sourced in GBP or Euros have not been converted back to their original currency after being converted to USD. 

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