The government freezes the minimum wage and avoids setting deadlines for its review

The Government yesterday approved the freezing of the minimum interprofessional wage for 2021, at the expense of finding a consensus to revise this figure. The Council of Ministers gave the green light to an additional provision that will presumably be published this Wednesday in the Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) and which extends the SMI by 950 euros per month. The text drafted by the Ministry of Labor argues the freezing, for an indefinite period of time, to “ensure the continuity of the work of the social dialogue table”; as the wording reads.

The minimum wage has been seen as a new point of difference between the members of the coalition government (and with nuances within the PSOE itself). And the Ministry of Labor, given the lack of understanding both between employers and unions and within the executive itself, has sought time to facilitate greater rapprochement. Although the Workers’ Statute only recognizes “prior consultation” with social agents, because it is up exclusively to the executive to decide whether or not the SMI rises and how much. The main stumbling block is not so much the lack of understanding between an employer that rejects any increase and unions that aspire to rises, but the lack of a common position in the Council of Ministers.

The text that will be published today in the BOE argues that the “social and economic context of special difficulty” requires giving “continuity to the work of the table of social dialogue.” However, it also postulates that this aims to give “continuity to the growth path of this variable [salari mínim] in compliance with the commitments assumed at European and international level “, according to the text.

The extension of the Council of Ministers does not detail what margin the social dialogue will have to reach an agreement and when the executive, with or without understanding, will apply its own criteria. Nor whether, in the event that an increase was finally imposed, this would be retroactive to the effect of January 1, 2021 or not.

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