Living Wages in Public Contracts Before and after Brexit
A version of this paper appears in Sanchez Graells (ed) (2018) Smart Public Procurement and Labour Standards, Hart Publishing
22 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2017 Last revised: 17 May 2018
Date Written: June 12, 2017
A requirement or preference for contractors to pay workers involved in the delivery of public contracts a wage above the legal minimum can be seen as part of socially responsible public procurement. However it may also be seen as a restriction on the free movement of goods and services, inasmuch as it erodes the cost advantages of contractors based in lower wage areas. As the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union, there is a need both to state EU law on this question and to consider the scope for the UK, its constituent jurisdictions or individual contracting authorities to take a different approach. The 2014 procurement directives, the Bundesdruckerei and RegioPost cases and the Commission's proposed revisions to the Posted Workers Directive all attempt to reconcile free movement with social protections relating to wages - however none of these directly address living wages which are not set out in legislation, collective agreements or administrative provisions. This paper analyses these developments in order to draw conclusions regarding the scope for living wages to be included in public contracts both before and after Brexit.
Keywords: public procurement, living wage, minimum wage, EU law, Posted Workers Directive, Regiopost, social responsibility, free movement, Directive 2014/24/EU, Directive 96/71/EC. Laval, Ruffert
JEL Classification: H57, F16, K23, K31, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation