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News | EU proposes new law on minimum wages

The proposal for the Directive on adequate minimum wages in the European Union was published last week by the European Commission with the aim to ensure ‘that workers within the European Union earn adequate wages to guarantee adequate working and living conditions, as well as to build fair and resilient economies and societies in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals’.

Currently, many workers in Europe do not have access to adequate minimum wages of a fair living wage. Income levels differ enormously between EU MS and – as reflected in the proposal ‘globalization, digitization and the increase in atypical forms of work, especially in the service sector, have led to a greater polarization of jobs, which in turn results in an increasing share of low-paid and low-skilled occupations’.

 As noticed the Covid-19 crisis has particularly hit sectors with a higher share of low-wage workers such as retail and tourism and has had a stronger impact on the disadvantaged groups of the population. Ensuring workers in the Union have access to employment opportunities, and to adequate minimum wages is essential to support a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

La Strada International hopes that this proposal – which is still subject to long and difficult negotiations - will ensure that at national level access to minimum wage protection can be increased, including through improved access to information, strengthening of labour inspections and non-discriminatory controls, as now proposed. Positive is that the proposal also includes the ‘Right to redress and protection against adverse treatment or consequences (Article 11) and that the right to complaint and access compensation is included in the draft proposal. 

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