Andrew P asked this question and I thought the answer warranted a new blog post:
Garmin Cervelo womens team were a UK registered team, no? UCI contract “suggests” that the team pay one of the following:
“This pay may not be less than the following amount:
– The legal minimum wage of the country of the nationality of the UCI Team;
– The amount set by (name of NF) in its national regulations;
– The minimum wage negotiated by (name of NF) with (e.g. name of riders’ union) of the country”
Seems anomalous that GC team’s minimum wage rates set below the UK NMW limit.
For starters, I made a mistake in my write-up. So thanks for pointing that out, I have corrected it. The UK minimum wage when I calculated it last year came to 14,600 Euro, not 19,600 I have corrected the numbers in the blog now. It should also be noted that neo-pros are usually young, and different minimum wages apply to younger people in most countries (including the UK).
This also highlights another problem, which is exchange rates. The UCI rules reference the minimum wage of the registering federation (UK in our case) but obviously a rider living in Spain or the Netherlands wants to be paid in Euros, not GBP. And the team has no real choice in where to register, it is based on its roster (or it would have to hire some fake riders in a specific country, which is not unheard of).
Secondly, as Andrew indicated, the UCI nor most national federations mandate a minimum wage for women or continental riders, they merely “suggest” one. This is again different than for Pro Conti and WorldTour riders, where the minimum wage is mandatory.
Thirdly, even if the “suggestion” was enforced, not all riders on a continental or women’s team are considered “professional” by UCI rule standards. Article 2.17.004 states:
A continental or women’s team will comprise riders who may or may not be professional, in the elite and/or under 23 men’s categories for a continental team and elite women’s category for a wom- en’s team. It must have between 8 and 16 riders.
So you can have a continental or women’s team where nobody gets paid a salary. This is not necessarily a problem, if people want to race at that level, don’t want or need a salary, then they’re free to register and compete with other Continental teams and sometimes with Pro Conti teams. Most women riders do get paid, but the amount is below the minimum wage suggestion.
As it stands now, this is not a problem because it’s merely a suggestion, and even if it became mandatory, those women below the threshold would probably become “amateurs with some compensation”.
Fourthly, there are no definitions of full-time and part-time in the UCI rules. We compensate all riders on the basis of 12 months, and the analysis I showed before was based on what minimum wages look like for 40 hours onbut that doesn’t mean they are “locked-in” for those 12 months. Quite a few women riders study or work in parallel with their cycling career. Of course some do so because they have no choice given the salary they make riding, but for many it’s also a more cerebral choice.
For example, we have a rider who had a very good job at a major multinational before she focussed more on racing. She races the full season, but then in the Fall/Winter she has a few months to do projects for her old employer or some other companies. It keeps the door open for life after racing, and of course it supplements her income too. Similarly, we have a rider who is working on her PhD in the off-season.
Finally, which country applies? The UCI rules suggest to look at the country of registration, and certainly for the federation rules which need to be followed that makes sense. But for a legal discussion regarding minimum wage, it makes a lot less sense. For example, other than the registration at the British federation, Garmin-Cervelo has no ties with the UK. It’s not a UK company, virtually none of its races are there, virtually none of its riders live there.
In fact, for the national authorities (not the cycling authorities, but actual labor and tax authorities), the country of registration of the team is completely irrelevant. They look at where the employer and employee are based. If you are a UCI team registered in Spain and you pay a rider living in Switzerland a wage that is above the UCI minimum, above the Spanish minimum but below the Swiss minimum, you’ve got a problem (I’m simplifying a bit, it depends on self-employed vs employed, etc, but safe to say, it’s complicated).