Onko Euroopan unionilla toimivalta säätää riittävistä vähimmäispalkoista?
Does the European Union have the competence to regulate adequate minimum wages?
Keywords:Competence, European Union, TFEU 153, Minimum Wage
The European Commission presented a proposal for a directive on adequate minimum wages in October 2020. According to the explanatory memorandum of the proposal, the directive aims to, for example to prevent in-work poverty, reduce pay differentials, and promote social cohesion. The proposal is based on Article 153(1)b of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). Legal basis of the proposed directive has raised criticism regarding the competence of the European Union. According to Article 153(1)b TFEU the Union shall support and complement the activities of the Member States, among other fields, in working conditions. The criticism is aimed specifically at paragraph 5 of the Article 153 TFEU. According to Article 153(5) TFEU, the provisions of this Article shall not apply to wages.
This paper clears the boundaries of the European Union’s competence in the light of Article 153 regarding wages. This paper answers the question, does the Union have the competence to legislate adequate minimum wages according to the proposal? The answer to this question is found by methods of interpretation and systematization. The judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and the Court of Justice of the European Union are used to interpret the scope of the Article 153(5) TFEU boundaries. In the judgments, the restriction laid out by paragraph 5 is not viewed to exclude the Union's competence categorically to legislate pay.
The legal actions by which the minimum wage was to be regulated are a key factor concerning the Union's competence. The proposal does not aim to set a uniform minimum wage across the EU. Instead, it aims to create guidelines for the Member States to legislate minimum wages in a way that the wage is adequate to secure a fair standard of living in a particular Member State. The paper is concluded by stating that the legislative actions of the proposal are within the competence of the Union if the minimum wages were to be regulated as proposed.
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