With 505 votes in favour, 92 against and 44 abstentions, European Parliament adopted new legislation on adequate minimum wages in the EU, on Wednesday.
According to EP’s statement, the EU law, agreed with the Council in June, aims to improve working and living conditions for all workers in the EU, as well as promoting economic and social progress. To this end, it establishes minimum requirements for the adequacy of statutory minimum wages as provided by national law and/or collective agreements, and enhances the effective access of workers to minimum wage protection.
The new directive will apply to all EU workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship. The EU countries in which the minimum wage is already protected exclusively via collective agreements will not be obliged to introduce these rules nor to make these agreements universally applicable.
The EP clarifies in its statement that setting a minimum wage remains a national competence but member states will have to guarantee that their national minimum wages allow workers to lead a decent life, taking into account the cost of living and wider pay levels. For the adequacy assessment of their existing statutory minimum wages, member states may establish a basket of goods and services at real prices, or set it at 60% of the gross median wage and 50% of the gross average wage.
Moreover, in countries where fewer than 80% of workers are covered by collective bargaining, member states – with the involvement of social partners – will have to establish an action plan to increase the coverage.
Additionally, the agreed text introduces the obligation for EU countries to set up an enforcement system, including reliable monitoring, controls and field inspections, to ensure compliance and address abusive sub-contracting, bogus self-employment, non-recorded overtime or increased work intensity.
Moving on, the Council is expected to formally approve the agreement in September. Member states will then have two years to comply with the Directive.
The highest minimum wages are found in Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany; the lowest in Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia.
Source: Cyprus News Agency