Ministers to discuss minimum wages, pay transparency and the COVID-19 pandemic in Brussels
EU ministers responsible for employment and social affairs will discuss the directive on adequate minimum wages as a way of combating in-work poverty. Other items on their agenda include pay transparency and gender equality in the labour market.
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 6 December 2021. Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen will represent Finland at the meeting.
EU ministers responsible for employment and social affairs will aim to adopt the Council position on a directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU. The purpose of the directive is not to set common minimum wages for all EU Member States, but rather to define measures for promoting adequate minimum wages in the EU. The proposed directive does not require imposing statutory minimum wages in countries where minimum wage protection is provided by collective agreements. Once the Council reaches an agreement on a general approach on the matter, it will start negotiations with the European Parliament.
“It is important for Finland to combat in-work poverty. At the same time, however, the EU minimum wage directive must respect the right of social partners to negotiate and enter into collective agreements,” says Minister of Employment Haatainen.
Ministers to discuss gender equality in working life
The Council will hold two policy debates, the first focusing on the European Semester, and the second on promoting gender equality in Europe, which is a key priority for Finland in terms of EU activities.
In addition to the minimum wages directive, ministers will also aim to adopt the Council position on a directive on binding pay transparency measures. The directive aims to promote equal pay for men and women by means of pay transparency measures and implementation mechanisms. Finland supports the objectives of the proposed directive.
The Council will approve conclusions on the impact of artificial intelligence on gender equality in the labour market and on sustainable work over the life course. The Council will also receive a progress report on the directive on equal treatment.
Health ministers to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic
The meeting of health ministers of the EPSCO Council will be held on Tuesday 7 December 2021 in Brussels. State Secretary Eila Mäkipää will represent Finland at the meeting.
Ministers will exchange views on the COVID-19 pandemic and approve conclusions on the European Health Union. Matters to be discussed include sufficient and timely availability of essential medical countermeasures, preventing the spread of the Omicron variant, vaccination of 12-year-olds, and EU joint procurement contracts for COVID-19 medicines.
“It is important to take joint action within the EU to prevent the re-escalation of the COVID-19 epidemic and, in particular, to prevent the spread of the more infectious virus variant,” says State Secretary Mäkipää.
Piritta Jokelainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 353
Liisa Heinonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4131
Reetta Honkanen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 684 (health policy)
Juuli Hakulinen, Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 651 (social policy)