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Adequate minimum wages in the European Union

Opinion Number: CDR 5859/2020
Rapporteur: KAISER Peter
Commission: SEDEC
Status: Adopted
Date: 19/03/2021
Establish a framework at Union level to ensure both that minimum wages are set at adequate level and that workers have access to minimum wage protection, in the form of a statutory minimum wage or of wages set by collective agreements; while at the same time avoiding interference with the freedom of Member States to set statutory minimum wages or promote access to minimum wage protection provided by collective agreements, according to national traditions and in full respect of social partners’ contractual freedom;
Promote the increase of collective bargaining in wage setting;
Ensure that Member States with statutory minimum wages set and update them by criteria set to promote adequacy with the aim to achieve decent working and living conditions; while at the same time avoiding variations and making potential deductions justified and proportionate;
Ensure effective access of workers to statutory minimum wage protection by reinforcing the controls and field inspections system, providing guidance for enforcement authorities, and giving workers adequate information on applicable statutory minimum wages.
No impact yet.

- welcomes the fact that the Commission has brought about a fundamental shift regarding the minimum wage, with adequate minimum wages seen as a fundamental right and prerequisite for a social, fair and sustainable market economy underpinning the European single market;

- believes the Commission proposal serves to meet the European objectives of strengthening social and territorial cohesion and avoiding distortions to competition (Article 3 TEU), and ensures continuity with the European Pillar of Social Rights (Principle 6), the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 31), the European Social Charter (Article 4) and ILO Convention 131;

- considers that a decent wage does more than remove extreme poverty. Its purpose is to ensure that people can have a basic quality of life and participate in social and cultural life. It is context-specific and seeks to go beyond "poverty wages" to ensure that people can meet their basic needs;

- stresses that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value should be respected in cases where minimum wages are set by sector;

- strongly supports the fact the draft directive does not specify minimum social harmonisation, and understands the proposal to provide for non-regression for existing higher levels of protection in the Member States than that guaranteed by the proposed directive (Article 16);

- believes that the European added value of the Commission's proposal is that it creates a basis for triggering upward convergence of minimum wages in dialogue with the Member States;

- stresses the strong regional dimension of the issue of adequate minimum wages, even though this is not sufficiently reflected in the Commission proposal;

- believes that the process of convergence towards fairer minimum wages should go hand-in-hand with a Commission proposal for wage transparency measures; among other things, this would also be an important way of closing the gender pay gap and preventing discriminatory practices on the basis of race, belief, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
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