Sweden joins Denmark in push to annul EU’s minimum wage directive

Sweden will next week send a formal request to the EU's Court of Justice, asking to be allowed to join Denmark in its case requesting annulment of the EU’s minimum wage directive, the country's deputy employment minister has confirmed.

Sweden joins Denmark in push to annul EU's minimum wage directive
Denmark will seek to have the EU's minimum wage directive annulled by the EU Court. File photo: JOHN THYS / AFP

The right-wing government has been under pressure from the opposition Social Democrats, as well by both the unions and employer trade bodies, to join Denmark in its push to annul the directive, but has up until now held back from making any commitments. 

Paulina Brandberg told TT newswire that Sweden’s permission was that unions and employer trade bodies should alone be tasked with setting salary levels and that the EU should not be involved in setting wage levels through legislation. 

“This is an important issue of principle, which at root is about the limits of the EU’s authority,” she told TT. “We were waiting to see how the Danish case was formed and when we saw it, we quickly realised that it was something we could become involved in.” 

READ ALSO: Danish government sues EU over minimum wage

Denmark’s government in January brought a case requesting annulment of the EU’s minimum wage directive. 

An annulment suit is an attempt to have the directive revoked on the grounds that it is in breach of the EU Treaty.

An EU directive on minimum wages was adopted in October last year but Denmark and Sweden were both opposed because of the established labour models in those two countries, by which wages are set through negotiations between trade unions and employers.

The EU Commission has stated that it will respect the Swedish and Danish models of wage setting and would not force either country to code a minimum wage into law.

But the Danish government in January said it wanted the directive to be removed completely. At that time it was unclear whether the Swedish side would join the case. 

Member comments

  1. Speaking from experience on this , once a minimum wage is introduced, the desire to have /need a union is diminished. Employers will use this law to their advantage. Low level wage earners will never be paid a ” living wage “. Canada and U.S are my examples.

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Sweden raises work permit salary threshold by over a thousand kronor

Statistics Sweden has released fresh median salary figures, effectively pushing up the work permit salary threshold for all new applicants.

Sweden raises work permit salary threshold by over a thousand kronor

On November 1st last year the minimum salary that applicants need to earn in order to be eligible for a Swedish work permit was raised to 80 percent of Sweden’s median salary. At the time the median salary was 34,200 kronor a month, giving a salary threshold of 27,360 kronor.

But in an update on June 18th, the median salary was pushed up to 35,600 kronor. 

This means work permit applicants (including both first-time applications and extensions) applying on this date or later will need to earn a total of 28,480 kronor a month in order to qualify for a work permit.

The median salary is announced in Statistics Sweden’s yearly updates, so it changes every year.

Salaries also need to be in line with industry standards or collective bargaining agreements to qualify for a work permit.

It’s the most recently published median salary at the time of your application (not the time of a decision) that will determine how much you need to earn in order to be eligible for a work permit, so the new figure will not affect work permit applications which are already in process, but it will affect any new applications or renewals submitted on or after June 18th, 2024.

Are there any plans to raise the salary threshold further?

Yes. The government plans to raise the work permit threshold for new permits to 100 percent of the median salary at the time of application, with exemptions for some categories of workers. 

This is currently going through the consultation stage (remiss) of the legislative process, which means it is not yet a firm proposal. If it does go ahead, the proposed starting date is June 1st, 2025.

There would be a one-year grace period for work permit renewals: the current rule (80 percent of the median salary) would continue to apply for any applications for extensions submitted to the Migration Agency by June 1st 2026 at the latest.

Do you have any questions for The Local about Sweden’s work permit salary threshold? Please comment below and we’ll try to help.