European legislators describe the historic agreement between the negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council (Member States) on the adequacy of minimum wages to ensure a decent standard of living.
The agreement on the directive on adequate minimum wages, proposed by the European Commission in October 2020, also enriches the national dialogue in Cyprus on the introduction of a minimum wage in Cyprus. This is a reform that Zeta Aimilianidou did not manage to complete. The consultation is in the final stages with the aim of reaching an end in July, as the President of the Republic told RIK. The directive sets different criteria for setting the minimum wage and is not just a wage starting point for the employee.
In particular, the agreement stipulates that Member States will have to assess whether their existing legal minimum wages (ie the lowest wage allowed) are sufficient to ensure a decent standard of living, taking into account their own socio-economic conditions, purchasing power or long-term national productivity levels.
To assess adequacy, EU countries can set a “basket of goods and services” at real prices. Member States may also apply indicative reference values that are widely used internationally, such as 60% of gross average wage and 50% of gross average wage.
The directive provides for regular and timely updates of the minimum wage, the establishment of advisory bodies in which the social partners will be able to participate, and the effective involvement of the social partners in setting and updating the legal minimum wage.
negotiators agreed that EU countries should strengthen sectoral and cross-sectoral collective bargaining as an essential factor in protecting workers.
“For the first time, EU legislation will directly contribute to ensuring fairer and better pay for workers,” said German EPP MEP and co-rapporteur Dennis Radtke.
“Everyone should be able to buy new clothes, join a sports team or go on vacation as they deserve. In short, they should have a decent standard of living, “said Agnes Jongerius, co-rapporteur of the Dutch Socialist MEP.” The directive creates new opportunities for European citizens to avoid so-called worker poverty access to social dialogue “, comments the Chairman of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Dragoş Pîslaru (Renew, Romania).
The agreement was also welcomed by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recalling that promised to adopt a legal instrument at the beginning of its term.
“The EU has kept its promise. “The new rules on minimum wages will protect dignity at work and ensure that work is paid,” said the president of the European Commission.