Principle 14

Minimum income

"Everyone lacking sufficient resources has the right to adequate minimum income benefits ensuring a life in dignity at all stages of life, and effective access to enabling goods and services. For those who can work, minimum income benefits should be combined with incentives to (re)integrate into the labour market."

- Principle 14 of the European Pillar of Social Rights

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Minimum income as a determinant of health

Adequate financial means are fundamental to ensure a healthy and decent quality of life. Various forms of minimum income have been found to reduce poverty, destitution, and insecurity, while promoting population-wide and intergenerational equality, making it an important determinant of health.

What does the EPSR Action Plan say?

The EPSR Action Plan sets out five key goals for EU Member States:

  • Member States have committed to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15.6 million by 2030.

  • When planning the allocation of financial resources, Member States are recommended to make greater use of distributional impact assessments to better account for the impact of reforms and investments on the income of different groups and to increase transparency on the social impact of budgets and policies.

  • In 2022, a Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income was proposed to support support and complement the policies of Member States effectively. This Recommendation was published and adopted on 30th of January 2023 (see 'Other tools supporting the implementation of Principle 14' below).

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Where are we now?

The Social Scoreboard measures progress on the principles of the EPSR. Linked to the principle of minimum income, the Scoreboard outlines that in the EU:

  • The income quintile share ratio (S80/S20 ratio**) in 2021 in the 27 member states in the EU was 4.99

  • The in-work-at-risk-of-poverty rate was 8.9%.

  • 7% of European citizens were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, while 6.3% were in severe material and social deprivation.

  • 4% of children aged 0 to 17 were at risk of poverty or exclusion, while 7.5% of children lived in severe material and social deprivation.

  • Unemployment rate was 6.1%, while long-term unemployment rate stood at 2.4%.

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What are public health actors doing?

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The following actions taken by public health actors at (sub)national level can support the implementation of EPSR principle 14.

Click on a country to learn about initiatives taking place.

EU tools that help implement Principle 14

There are EU policies and instruments that can help relevant actors in the field, including public health, to work together to achieve EPSR Principle 14 on minimum income

More information about the EU institutions and programmes is available on EuroHealthNet's Health Inequalities Portal.

Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income

The Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income encourages Member States to:

  • Improve the adequacy, coverage, and take-up of income support.
  • Improve access to inclusive labour markets and essential services.
  • Promote individualised support.
  • Increase the effectiveness and monitoring and reporting mechanisms of social safety nets at EU, national, regional, and local level.

The Commission will monitor implementation progress in the context of the European Semester.

In addition, a European Parliament resolution adopted in March 2023 asks the European Commission to consider an EU Directive in this field.

Recovery and Resilience Facility
High-level Group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU
European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
Social Protection Committee

Have your say

Would you like to share promising policies or practices carried out by your public health institute, which support the implementation of this EPSR principle?

Feel free to reach out to our EuroHealthNet colleague Silvia Ganzerla.

About EuroHealthNet

Building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities.

EuroHealthNet is the Partnership of public health agencies and organisations building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities. Our focus is on preventing disease and promoting good health by looking within and beyond the health system.

Structuring our work over a policy, a practice, and a research platform, we focus on exploring and strengthening the links between these areas.

Our approach focuses on integrated concepts to health, reducing health inequality gaps and gradients, working on determinants across the life course, whilst contributing to the sustainability and wellbeing of people and the planet.

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EuroHealthNet is co-funded by the European Union. However, the information and views set out on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included on this website. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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