The approval of the 27 comes after, on 14 September, the European Parliament approved in Strasbourg, by a large majority (505 votes in favour, 92 against and 44 abstentions), the new legislation, which the Member States will now have two years to transpose into national law.

The directive establishes procedures for the adequacy of national minimum wages, promotes collective bargaining on wage setting and improves effective access to minimum wage protection for workers who are entitled to a minimum wage under national legislation, for example, through a national minimum wage or collective agreements.

Member States that have national minimum wages must establish a procedural framework for setting and updating these minimum wages according to a clear set of criteria.

The Council and the European Parliament had already agreed that national minimum wage updates would take place at least every two years (or at most every four years in the case of countries using an automatic indexation mechanism), providing for social partners to participate in the procedures for setting and updating national minimum wages.

“Message of hope”

“When people have to count their pennies because of the energy crisis, this law is a message of hope. Minimum wages and collective wage setting are powerful instruments that can be used to ensure that all workers earn wages that allow for a decent standard of living”, said the current Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU today.

This legislation was initially proposed by the European Commission in October 2020, and the principle of adequate minimum wages is included in the action plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights, adopted in May last year during the Porto summit, within the framework of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2021.