European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has welcomed the proposal which should improve
the transparency and predictability of working conditions across the EU for all
different forms of employment contract. The opinion drafted by Isolde Ries
(DE/PES), First Vice-President of the Saarland Regional Parliament, urges to
pay special attention to non-standard forms of employment and to the estimated
4 to 6 million workers in the EU with on-demand and intermittent employment
European Commission's proposal for a Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union aims to implement important principles enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights, introducing certain minimum requirements and modernising existing obligations to inform each worker of their working conditions. The CoR opinion, which was adopted at the plenary session on Thursday, underlines that increasing transparency and reducing disparities between Member States would improve the effectiveness of the EU labour market for both businesses and workers and provide fairer working conditions for employees.
"Young people are disproportionately affected by forms of non-standard employment, such as temporary and intermittent contracts. Ongoing changes in the labour market raise important questions as regards working conditions and could give rise to new categories of precarious employment. The aim should be to guarantee equal pay for equal work for all forms of employment", rapporteur Isolde Ries emphasises.
The opinion recommends introducing new substantive rights, such as a ban on zero-hours contracts, a right to guaranteed working hours and more rights in connection with dismissal. It urges to take better account of the emerging forms of self-employment, also in the collaborative economy where many forms of work lie mid-way between salaried employment and freelance work, and calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for better worker participation in European businesses.
At the same time, the Committee highlights the need to respect the comprehensive social and employment policy responsibilities of national and sub-national authorities and points out that some Member States have well-functioning labour market models where minimum rights are regulated through collective agreements. In this regard the opinion echoes the general approach of the Employment and Social Affairs Council of 21 June, which also allow flexibility for the national authorities to define the concepts of "worker" and "employer".
The draft proposal for directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union includes revised obligations to inform workers of the essential aspects of their work. The duration of probationary periods is limited to 6 months and a number of minimum rights for workers are defined. These include the rights to take up another job with a different employer in parallel; to know reasonably in advance about the working schedule; to ask for a more secure job and receive a written reply from the employer; and to receive mandatory training cost-free.
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