This EAPN Position Paper on Adequate Income presents and updates EAPN’s priorities, proposals and demands as regards to adequate income. It covers both adequate minimum income (MI) and fair minimum wages (MW), including living wages, and largely builds upon earlier policy work by EAPN and the EMIN Network. Why an EAPN Position Paper on Adequate Income? For EAPN it is key to develop and promote a comprehensive and coherent approach to ensuring that people have adequate resources to live on throughout the life course, whether they are working or unemployed, whether they have not yet been or are no longer in employment. Many people who, for a wide range of reasons, are not in the labour market rely on social benefits. They also require an adequate income otherwise poverty will not be eradicated.
Having a strong and permanent thematic and advocacy focus on MI and MIS is part of EAPN’s “raison d’être” and DNA. For EAPN, EU soft law has not allowed sufficient and sustainable progress on poverty reduction and the guarantee of decent employment, working and living conditions for all Europeans. EAPN’s key demand for a Framework Directive on Adequate Minimum Income ̶ to translate the right to an adequate minimum income for all over the life-course into a legally binding commitment for all MS ̶ and the request for an EU Framework for Fair Minimum Wages have to be seen against the backdrop of this proven failure of “EU soft-law mechanisms” in the last two decades.
The 2019 European Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty ̶ organised by EAPN ̶ recognised good minimum income schemes as a key issue. The COVID19 pandemic – proportionally hitting the poorest and most vulnerable people and their families hardest – has made the need for adequate income support for those who are out of work or falling outside social protection even more obvious and urgent than before, and the same goes for those who are unemployed or unable to work. All these people are facing higher bills and costs, and urgently need adequate, accessible, and enabling minimum income benefits. The pandemic has also put the spotlight on the vulnerability of atypical and precarious workers in Europe and around the globe, including those on zero-hour contracts and seasonal workers. The need for quality jobs and employment with fair and adequate wages to allow a decent standard of living, can only be more obvious and urgent.
EAPN elaborates its case in the following sections in the position
Adequate, accessible, and enabling minimum income (schemes)
- Making the case for adequate, accessible, and enabling minimum income schemes – what benefits do they bring?
- Why minimum income schemes need to be adequate, accessible, and enabling
- Making the case for an EU Framework Directive on Minimum Income
- Addressing concerns expressed vis-à-vis EU-level legislative action on minimum income
Fair minimum wages in the context of quality jobs and employment
- EAPN priorities, requirements, and concerns in view of EU-level action on fair Minimum Wages
- Setting the scene at EU-level and making the case for an EU Framework for Minimum Wages