Minimum wages are meant to support household incomes and protect those with low wages from drifting into poverty. Moreover, they are seen as a means to reduce income inequality. Striking a balance between the needs of a worker and economic factors is their main aim according to the ILO. At the same time, they can be described as a moral value defining the lowest threshold under which employment is not acceptable.
The right of a worker to gain an equitable wage is laid down in the European Social Charter, ratified by all EU Member States. The EU itself has no legal competences on pay. Minimum wages are exclusively defined at national level. However, the discussion on a common European threshold (for example 60% of the national median wage) has gained momentum in recent years. European Commission president Juncker spoke in favour of a European minimum wage in 2013 and again in 2014. The European Parliament has also called for a common European minimum wage in several resolutions.
This keysource is a collection of research on national minimum wage systems and a common European minimum wage policy.
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service
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