Minimum wages for low-paid workers in collective agreements

In this pilot project, Eurofound successfully established the feasibility of, and piloted, an EU-wide database of minimum pay rates contained in collective agreements related to low-paid workers. A conceptual and measurement framework was devised, a total of 692 collective agreements – related to 24 low-paid sectors of interest – were selected to be ‘fully coded’ and representative data on negotiated minimum pay were compiled for 24 EU Member States. Based on more than 3,202 renewal texts, time series of collectively agreed minimum rates were created from 2015 to 2022 for 19 countries. This is the first time that an EU-wide data collection has provided comparative time series on negotiated pay. Key findings are is that in some countries outdated agreements contain rates below the applicable statutory minima, and that the potential of collective agreements to regulate pay generally or for employees earning higher wages than the minimum pay is not always fully capitalised on.

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