EU countries have agreed on the principles of a minimum wage

The standard does not provide for the introduction of a uniform minimum wage level for the whole of the Union, but sets out how countries should achieve a sufficient level. It also aims to strengthen employees’ collective bargaining with employers.

Ministers also agreed on a common approach to draft rules aimed at reducing the gender pay gap. The final wording of both standards will be negotiated by the representatives of the states with the European Parliament in the coming months.

The 27 are trying to harmonize the rules for the lowest earnings, as they are very different in the EU countries and in many countries, according to the European Commission, they do not react to the development of prices and other economic indicators.

“Work should pay off. We cannot allow people who put all their energy into their work to still live in poverty and not achieve decent living conditions,” said Slovenian Labor and Social Affairs Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, whose country currently holds the EU presidency. and therefore led negotiations between all Member States.

This was not easy, as the group of mainly Scandinavian countries does not have a set minimum wage level and relies on a sophisticated system of collective bargaining. They therefore did not want to nod to any binding rules associated with the lowest wage level.

The final compromise requires states that have a defined minimum wage to adjust it regularly according to firm and clear criteria. This requirement applies to 21 EU countries, including the Czech Republic

“It is certainly not a revolution, it is more about adjusting the parameters and ensuring that each state has some rules, either at the level of collective bargaining or at the level of some legal regulation,” said Martina Štěpánková, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. According to her, the directive should ensure greater predictability of minimum wage growth and will probably not mean the need for significant interventions in the existing rules for the Czechia.

States that do not have a statutory minimum wage will be more affected by another binding rule stipulating that if collective bargaining does not involve at least 70 percent of all employees, countries will need to prepare a plan to improve the situation. At this point, the main difference is between the proposals approved by the states and the MEPs, who are demanding that the threshold be raised to 80 percent of staff. States should regularly inform the European Commission of the level of minimum wages or collective bargaining conditions, which may call on them to remedy any shortcomings.

“This is a clear message that the rules should be unified and lead to an increase in minimum earnings,” EU Employment Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said today, saying some critics said the proposal did not impose any binding minimum wages.

Representatives of EU governments have also agreed today on a common approach to the Wage Transparency Directive, which is intended to help eliminate inequalities in pay for men and women for equal work. Thanks to it, employees will be able to find out information about the criteria on the basis of which the employer determines their salary or wages. They will also learn the average earnings of men and women for the same work they do. Companies or institutions with more than 250 employees will have to publish data on the gender pay gap every year.

The final form of both standards should be agreed by MEPs in the coming months during the French EU Presidency. However, it is possible that in the event of disagreement, the negotiations will extend to the next Czech Presidency, which begins in July.

Source: EuroZprá by

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