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European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO)


23 April 2014: Unfair treatment of older people in the labour market (Slovakia / Information update)
A research study has looked at employment among people aged 50+ in Slovakia. It looked at the possibility of creating a national programme for ‘active ageing’. The study focused on opportunities for finding employment among people aged 50+. It sought opinions of people aged between 50 and 64, as well as employers and representatives of the trade unions. It provides an analysis of results from three surveys commissioned by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.

23 April 2014: Study urges improvements to occupational health strategy (Germany / Information update)
An evaluation has been made of the first phase of Germany’s Joint Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA). The evaluation examines unpublished reports from inspections carried out under the GDA of occupational safety and health work programmes, and also considers the strategy’s overall objectives. The report suggests that the GDA needs to change some of its indicators, and that its efforts should be focused on workplaces where there is clearly room for improvement.

17 April 2014: Positive views of current job and past career changes (Czech Republic / Information update)
The majority of Czechs are happy with their jobs, according to new research. However, more than three-quarters do not work in a job that really suits them, according to the results of an online survey conducted in 2013. Many respondents’ ideal job would mean them running their own business, a dream unrealised for many mainly due to the high risks of being self-employed. Those who have made a significant change in their career, voluntarily or involuntarily, are happy with the outcome.

17 April 2014: Need to improve access to employment and conditions for disabled people (Estonia / Information update)
Government ministries in Estonia have been urged to review their treatment of people with disabilities working in their departments. The instruction follows the findings of a study by the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner that examined how closely ministries comply with the Equal Treatment Act requiring employers to actively help disabled employees. Ministries’ knowledge of the needs of disabled people was found to be poor and in need of serious improvement.

11 April 2014: How trade unions help to protect workers’ rights (Latvia / Information update)
A survey in Latvia has looked at how trade unions work to prevent abuse of workers’ rights. It was commissioned by the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia and the results suggest there were fewer violations of labour rights at businesses where there was a trade union. However, the findings also suggest that employees have a high level of tolerance for the abuse of labour rules. Employees’ loyalty towards their work and the spread of the shadow economy were also examined.

11 April 2014: Better ‘workability’ means longer careers (Belgium / Information update)
The most recent results from a three-yearly study that examines perceptions of work in Belgium’s Flemish Region, asking respondents to score ‘workability’ factors, showed that just over half the employees who participated were in a job where they felt motivated and offered them the chance to learn new skills. The same group reported no problems with stress, and said they enjoyed a reasonable work–life balance. Just under a third of the respondents reported that stress was a problem.

11 April 2014: Low economic activity among people over 45 (Poland / Information update)
The low activity rate in Poland’s labour market among women aged between 45 and 69 has been confirmed by a recent study. The research is being used to shape the government response to the problem of an ageing workforce combined with a rising retirement age. The research figures show the public sector is more likely than the private sector to employ people over the age of 45. In the private sector, this age group is most likely to be found working in small and medium-sized companies.

04 April 2014: Slow progress in employment of disabled workers (France / Information update)
Legislation on the compulsory employment of disabled workers in France was passed in 2005. It appears to have increased the recruitment of workers with disabilities, but at a slow pace. Figures show the number of disabled people in private sector companies with at least 20 employees increased by 3.1% in 2011. However, four in ten companies which have hired disabled workers still fall short of the legal requirements. Disabled workers are predominantly older men in low-skilled jobs.

04 April 2014: Improving the psychosocial work environment for state church employees (Denmark / Information update)
The unique challenges of working for the church in Denmark have been examined in a new report. More than 4,800 people took part in the study which looked specifically at the church’s psychological work environment. It makes recommendations about how to resolve three key issues that the church should address:a poorly defined management structure, the lack of formal conflict resolution, and poor support for staff who face unusually high levels of work-related emotional strain.

03 April 2014: Women at work: difficulties achieving work–life balance (Portugal / Information update)
Patterns of employment among women in two sectors in Portugal have been put under the spotlight in a new study. The study looked at women working in the information, communications and technologies sector and in ‘new’ retail, characterised as supermarkets and shopping centres. The research focused on working time flexibility and the high incidence of temporary work in Portugal. It looked at factors which impact on women’s management of their work–life balance.