In response to the current challenges facing labour markets, the European Commission decided to put forward a proposal for a Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union. It will serve 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.
CoR draft opinion points out that youth unemployment rate in Europe remains above pre-crisis levels and that younger, less educated and less skilled people are disproportionately affected by forms of non-standard employment, such as temporary and part-time jobs.
The draft opinion urges the European Commission to ensure that the current revision of the Directive takes account of the fact that many forms of work in the collaborative economy lie mid-way between salaried employment and freelance work, which raises important questions as regards working conditions and could give rise to a new category of precarious employment. It recommends including new substantive rights, such as a ban on zero-hours contracts, the right to guaranteed working hours and more rights in connection with dismissal.
The opinion was adopted too recently to assess its impact.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- is concerned with the possibility that, under certain conditions, non-standard employment, particularly temporary jobs, disproportionately affects often younger, less educated and less skilled people, most of whom do not voluntarily enter into such employment relationships;
calls for the debate to also pay special attention to the 4-6 million workers in the EU with on-demand and intermittent employment contracts;
strongly supports any efforts to secure a minimum level of fair working conditions across the EU for all different forms of employment contract and to avoid creating unjustified further bureaucracy and red tape for small and medium-sized enterprises. These minimum rights would offer all workers the necessary protection, there would be a clear reference framework to which the national legislators and the courts could refer;
is of the opinion that new minimum rights at EU level not only ensure a level playing field, insofar as different national approaches lead to distortions of competition and barriers to the free movement of workers within the internal market. They can also improve the effectiveness of the EU labour market, promote economic and social progress and cohesion and foster a fresh process of convergence towards better working and living conditions while, at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the internal market;
underlines the importance of providing written information to both employers and workers, as this ensures greater transparency and reduces asymmetries between the two contracting parties. However, this is only an initial step towards preventing precarious employment;
highlights the possibility for the social partners of concluding a collective agreement on minimum rights, taking into account the overall protection of workers and ensuring that the minimum conditions for working conditions set out in this directive are not undercut;
recommends that the new substantive rights be expanded to include a ban on zero-hours contracts and the right to guaranteed working hours and more rights in connection with dismissal, since otherwise the scope of the substantive rights will fall short;
highlights the important role of LRAs in designing, implementing and evaluating measures in areas where they often have key competences, such as social and employment policy.