The EU must adopt a Directive on Minimum Wages, guaranteeing decent pay and working conditions for all!
EAPN welcomes the need for guaranteed decent pay and working conditions for all workers as a political priority at EU level. It is important that initiatives, including the proposal for an EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages in the European Union are embedded in an overarching framework made up by the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights and an integrated anti-poverty strategy. The economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic make the need for courageous and decisive action at EU level and for joint efforts of all relevant stakeholders within the Member States even more urgent than before!
Adequate minimum wages – or more generally living wages – are of great importance in improving the living and working conditions of people. They are important tools to guarantee and realise social and labour rights. Overall, they are crucial to tackle in-work poverty and precarious employment conditions.
Which points need to be reflected in the EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages?
- Minimum wages should be considered a basic social right for all workers.
- They should exist and be enforced in all sectors of the economy.
- Minimum wages should be set in a non-discriminatory way.
- No variations for specific groups, sub-minimum rates or deductions for costs should be applied.
- Whether minimum wage levels in a country can be considered adequate should be regularly monitored and assessed by EU policy monitoring processes, using specific baskets of goods and services.
- Adequate minimum wages should guarantee a decent standard of living and ensure people’s full participation in society in line with an active inclusion approach.
- Minimum wages should be poverty-proof: statutory minimum wages should never fall below a “decency threshold” of 60% of the national median wage and 50% of the national average wage.
- The existence of and full compliance with transparent mechanisms and participatory procedures to set and update minimum wages is essential.
- A positive hierarchy between adequate minimum income and decent minimum wages needs to be established while guaranteeing a decent standard of living, free of poverty, by means of an adequate minimum income for everybody.
- Collective bargaining across all sectors and for vulnerable workers, must be strengthened, with a framework which fully includes different categories of vulnerable workers.