Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 28/10/2020

Advancing the EU social market economy: adequate minimum wages for workers across Member States

The Commission today proposes an EU Directive to ensure that the workers in the EU are protected by adequate minimum wages allowing for a decent living wherever they work.

When set at adequate levels, minimum wages do not only have a positive social impact but also bring wider economic benefits as they:

  • reduce wage inequality
  • help sustain domestic demand and
  • strengthen incentives to work

Adequate minimum wages can also help reduce the gender pay gap, since more women than men earn a minimum wage. The proposal also helps protect employers that pay decent wages to workers by ensuring fair competition.

The current crisis has particularly hit sectors with a higher share of low-wage workers such as cleaning, retail, health and long-term care and residential care. Ensuring a decent living for workers and reducing in-work poverty is not only important during the crisis but also essential for a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.


President von der Leyen promised to present a legal instrument to ensure that the workers in our Union have a fair minimum wage at the start of her mandate and repeated her pledge in her first State of the Union address in September 2020.

The right to adequate minimum wages is in Principle 6 of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which was jointly proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council on behalf of all Member States, and the European Commission at the Social Summit in Gothenburg in 2017.

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