Fair minimum wages: Commission launches second-stage consultation of social partners

The Commission launches the second-stage consultation of European trade unions and employers’ organisations on how to ensure fair minimum wages for all workers in the European Union. This follows the first-stage consultation which was open from 14 January to 25 February 2020, to which the Commission received replies from 23 EU-wide social partners. Based on the replies received, the Commission concluded that there is a need for further EU action. Already a political priority for the von der Leyen Commission, recent events have further cemented demand for EU efforts to reduce rising wage inequalities and in-work poverty.

 
Minimum wages that are appropriately negotiated with social partners, complied with and updated can:

  • Provide vulnerable workers with a financial buffer in case of hard times
  • Create greater incentives to work, thereby improving productivity
  • Reduce wage inequalities in society
  • Increase domestic demand, and the resilience of the economy
  • Help close the gender pay gap


The second-stage consultation document sets out possible avenues for EU action to ensure that minimum wages are set at adequate levels and protect all workers. Collective bargaining has a critical role to play, as underlined by social partners’ replies to the first-stage consultation. Therefore, the EU initiative would aim to ensure that:

  • Well-functioning collective bargaining in wage-setting is in place;
  • National frameworks allow for statutory minimum wages to be set and regularly updated according to clear and stable criteria;
  • Social partners are effectively involved in statutory minimum wage setting to support minimum wage adequacy;
  • Minimum wage variations and exemptions are eliminated or limited;
  • National minimum wage frameworks are effectively complied with and monitoring mechanisms are in place.

Social partners are invited to respond to the questions in the consultation by 4 September 2020. This includes what sort of instrument would be most appropriate. The Commission is considering both legislative and non-legislative instruments, i.e. a Directive in the area of working conditions, and a Council Recommendation.
You can find additional information: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_979
 
Source: European Commission

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