Deal on new rules for ‘adequate’ minimum wages in EU

European Parliament and Council of the EU negotiators agreed on June 6 on EU rules to set adequate minimum wages, as provided by national law and/or collective agreements, a statement by the European Parliament said.

The new legislation will apply to all EU workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship.

The EU countries in which the minimum wage is protected exclusively via collective agreements will not be obliged to introduce it nor to make these agreements universally applicable.

According to the agreement, EU countries will have to assess whether their existing statutory minimum wages (that is, the lowest wage permitted by law) are adequate to ensure a decent standard of living, taking into account their own socio-economic conditions, purchasing power or the long-term national productivity levels and developments.

For the adequacy assessment, EU countries may establish a basket of goods and services at real prices.

Member states may also apply indicative reference values commonly used internationally, such as 60 per cent of the gross median wage and 50 per cent of the gross average salary.

Deductions from or variations to the minimum wage will have to be non-discriminatory, proportionate and have a legitimate objective, such as the recovery of overstated amounts paid or deductions ordered by a judicial or administrative authority.

EU negotiators agreed that EU countries will have to strengthen sectoral and cross-industry collective bargaining as an essential factor for protecting workers by providing them with a minimum wage.

Member states in which less than 80 per cent of the workforce is protected by a collective agreement will have to create an action plan to progressively increase this coverage.

To design the best strategy for this purpose, they should involve social partners and inform the European Commission of the adopted measures and make the plan public.

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.

National authorities will have to ensure the right to redress for workers whose rights have been infringed.

Authorities must also take the necessary measures to protect workers and trade union representatives, according to the agreement.

(Photo: Miroslav Saricka/

Please support The Sofia Globe by clicking on the orange button below to sign up to become a patron on

For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, becoming a patron means supporting independent journalism, and getting access to exclusive content:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.