Minimum wages in all EU countries must ensure decent living and working standardsand Member States should encourage collective bargaining on pay.
Parliament adopted new legislation on adequate minimum wages in the EU, which was approved by 505 votes, 92 votes and 44 abstentions, the EP reported.
EU legislation agreed with the Council in June aims to improving the working and living conditions of all workers in the EU, as well as to promote economic and social progress. For this purpose, it defines minimum requirements for the adequacy of the statutory minimum wages provided for in national law and/or collective labor agreements. It also strengthens workers’ effective access to these wage protections.
The new directive will apply to all workers in the EU who have an employment contract or employment relationship. Member States where the minimum wage is already protected exclusively by collective agreements will not be required to introduce these rules or make them universally applicable.
Determining of Minimal salary remains a national competence, but Member States will have to ensure that national minimum wages allow workers to lead a decent life, taking into account the cost of living and the general wage level, respectively. In their assessment of the adequacy of existing minimum wages, Member States can base themselves on a basket of goods and services at real prices or set its value at 60% of the gross median wage and 50% of the gross average wage.
Collective bargaining at the sectoral and cross-industry level is a major factor in achieving adequate minimum wages. That is why it needs to be encouraged and strengthened under the new rules that Parliament approved. In countries where collective bargaining covers less than 80% of workers, Member States together with the social partners will have to draw up an action plan to increase its coverage.
The Council is expected to formally approve the agreement in September. Member States will then have two years to bring national regulations into line with the directive.
The highest minimum wages are reported in Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany, and the lowest in Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia. In the EU, 21 out of 27 countries have a statutory minimum wage, while in the remaining six (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden) wage levels are determined by collective wage bargaining.