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21 December 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Ireland (Ireland / National Contribution)
This comparative analytical report looks at the working conditions of immigrants to Ireland. The report identifies sources of information on what is a recent phenomenon in Ireland and suggests that because inward migration is of recent origin, this may explain the limited volume of information available. The report suggests that Ireland could usefully learn from countries which have experienced immigration for a longer period.
21 December 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers —Hungary (Hungary / National Contribution)
Migrants are defined by citizenship; looking at data on work permits or evidences on illegal migrants, the picture is similar. men are typically employed in craft and related occupations, women in various personal services and unskilled occupations. Employment of men is most common in construction. Demand for foreign labour is due to the shortage of particular occupations and the wage difference, especially in illegal employment. Evidence on wages is limited, however. Some difference is evident across the sending countries: There is a Chinese community in Hungary involved in petty trade partly as self-employed, while Romanian (ethnic Hungarian) men are involved in construction (both skilled and unskilled). Ethnic Hungarian women from Romania are more involved in personal service provision (cleaning private houses or working as a maid, taking care of elderly family members etc.). More recently Slovakian skilled labourers in industry turned to be significant on a daily commuting basis. Most of these activities are mixed, legal or illegal work colours the picture. Quality of work and employment of migrants is not a much discussed issue in Hungary, share of foreign labour has remained rather low until recently.
21 December 2007: Survey finds that quality of work has improved slightly (Belgium / Information update)
The main results of the second Flemish Workability Monitor were published in September 2007. Although the workability rate in the Flanders region of Belgium has slightly increased between 2004 and 2007, 45.9% of Flemish employees still experience workability problems. Moreover, in relation to the risk factors affecting workability, there has been little variation between the 2004 and 2007 findings.
21 December 2007: Employers recognise benefits of informal adult education for workers (Lithuania / Information update)
A survey on the state of informal adult education was carried out in Lithuania in 2005. The study revealed that 95% of employers viewed informal adult education positively and considered it as necessary for employees. Almost 80% of the employers surveyed offered some form of training for their personnel. Moreover, companies set aside a greater proportion of funds for training purposes in 2005 compared with 2004.
21 December 2007: Mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace (Slovakia / Information update)
In 2006, the Institute for Labour and Family Research carried out a survey on the incidence of mobbing or bullying and sexual harassment at the workplace, the reactions of victims of harassment and the outcomes of harassment cases. The research also examined general opinions on the reasons for mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace and methods of prevention.
21 December 2007: Labour market integration of women and low-skilled workers (EU Level / Information update)
In June 2007, the US Government Accountability Office published a study on other countries’ policies and practices aimed at helping women and low-skilled workers to enter and remain in the labour force; among the countries compared are six EU Member States. The study concludes that quality, preferably subsidised, childcare and paid parental leave have a real impact on women’s employment. However, training programmes for low-skilled workers showed little effect.
21 December 2007: Migrant workers prone to more work-related accidents but fewer diseases (Italy / Information update)
The report ‘Work accidents and occupational diseases among migrant workers’ is the first study on the health and safety of non-EU workers. These workers report higher work accidents than Italian workers do because of their poor quality jobs, which are often undeclared or of a temporary nature. However, migrant workers report a lower level of occupational diseases than their Italian counterparts because of the so-called ‘healthy migrant worker effect’.
21 December 2007: High level of perceived risk among call centre operators (Italy / Information update)
Working conditions and health and safety risks in call centres are attracting increasing attention from both occupational therapists and sociologists. A study carried out in seven ‘in-house’ call centres shows higher stress and health risks than among those working in ‘outsourcing’ call centres, although the former seem to offer better legal and contractual protection than the latter.
18 December 2007: Few Spanish workers benefit from flexible working time (Spain / Information update)
A recent study found that fewer than 9% of workers in Spain benefit from flexible working time, well below the 23% average for the 25 EU Member States up to 1 January 2007. More specifically, 8% of working men and 9.2% of working women in Spain enjoy flexible working time practices at work. The option of modifying the start and finish time within a predefined working timetable is the most common flexibility practice at national level, both for men and women.
18 December 2007: Temporary agency work in Estonia (Estonia / Information update)
A recent study shows that temporary agency work is not widely used in Estonia. The issues of remuneration and holidays for temporary agency workers can be problematic. A lack of clarity is also evident regarding the division of standard employer responsibilities between the temporary work agency and the user company. The main economic sectors using temporary agency work are manufacturing, construction, and transport, storage and communications.
10 December 2007: Working conditions among Polish workers found to be substandard (Norway / Information update)
According to a recent survey carried out among Polish migrants in the Oslo area, significant disparities emerge between different groups of Polish workers. Posted workers and workers who operate in the illegal labour market are more often subject to substandard wages and working conditions. The situation is better for Poles within the legal labour market, although they are still paid less than Norwegians are.
10 December 2007: Wide disparities in risk exposure and negative health outcomes (Norway / Information update)
Life expectancy has been steadily improving in Norway during the last decades. A recent report provides comprehensive information on working conditions and occupational health. Although, in general, workers considered the level of job demands, job control and social support as balanced, exposure to physical and chemical risks and work-related health outcomes remain a concern, especially in some economic sectors and occupational groups.
10 December 2007: Impact of high job strain on health over time (Belgium / Information update)
A doctoral thesis on ‘Psychosocial job stress in relation to health’ at Ghent University reveals significant health effects of stressful jobs, including a greater probability of high blood pressure, lower back pain and depression. A further noteworthy finding was the observed gender difference in work-related health outcomes: women with stressful jobs were more exposed to psychological health problems while men were more likely to report physical health problems.
10 December 2007: Flexicurity to feature on new social partnership agenda (Ireland / Information update)
The concept of flexicurity, which refers to the balance to be struck between labour market flexibility and worker security, is set to feature on the bargaining agenda for any new tripartite national agreement in Ireland in 2008. According to the social partners, the concept may be applied in the Irish labour market, with some ‘negotiated trade-offs’ possible in the area of continuous vocational training and lifelong learning, for example.
10 December 2007: Tackling the high level of undeclared work (Latvia / Information update)
In 2007, the first specialised study of unregistered employment or undeclared work in Latvia was published, covering the entire country in terms of occupation, economic sector, region, sex and other aspects. The research concludes that, in 2006, on average 24% of the employed population worked without an employment contract or for undeclared pay. Streamlining the tax system and establishing a coordinating administrative authority are among the study recommendations.
26 November 2007: High incidence of work-related health problems in Oslo (Norway / Information update)
Work-related health problems are very common among people living in Norway’s capital city of Oslo, a recent study published in the scientific journal ‘Occupational Medicine’ has revealed. Almost 60% of Oslo citizens aged 30–45 years reported one or more work-related health problems in the previous month. The results suggest the significant potential for illness prevention through the reduction of known risk factors in the workplace.
26 November 2007: TUC report calls for equal access to workplace training (United Kingdom / Information update)
A recent report from the Trades Union Congress calls for a concerted effort by the UK government, employers, trade unions and other stakeholders to improve employees’ access to workplace training. At present, this access varies – particularly in relation to skills and education levels. For example, Labour Force Survey data show that 41% of graduate employees and just 12% of unqualified employees participated in job-related training in the spring quarter of 2006.
26 November 2007: Decline in occupational illnesses over past 10 years (Romania / Information update)
A recent study published by the Institute for Public Health reveals a decrease in the number of new cases of occupational diseases in Romania. The most common work-related illnesses are silicosis, diseases caused by noise or by inhaling toxic fumes, and asthma. The areas of economic activity reporting the highest incidence of occupational illness are metal and iron ore quarrying and preparation, road transport and metallurgy.
19 November 2007: Older workers’ attitudes towards working after retirement (Bulgaria / Information update)
A survey conducted in 2006 by the independent Sofia Consulting Group highlighted the factors influencing the decision of workers aged between 50 and 65 years to retire or continue working. The survey reveals that 45% of the respondents are willing to work, compared with 39% who prefer early retirement. About two thirds of the respondents stated that they intend to continue working after retirement.
19 November 2007: ILO underlines need to promote equality at work (EU Level / Information update)
A recent International Labour Organization report provides a global picture of job-related discrimination, ranging from traditional forms such as sex, race or religion, to newer forms based on age and sexual orientation. It points to the need for better enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation, as well as non-regulatory initiatives by governments and enterprises, and for equipping the social partners to be more effective in making equality a workplace reality.
19 November 2007: Number of occupational accidents highest in six years (Denmark / Information update)
For the third consecutive year, the number of occupational accidents has increased in Denmark. In 2006, some 62 fatal accidents were reported, which is the highest number of such accidents in six years, according to a new report from the Danish Working Environment Authority. This corresponds with a general trend showing an increase in the number of accidents at the workplace.
12 November 2007: Workers on non-standard hours more exposed to risks (Netherlands / Information update)
The use of working hours outside the standard ‘9 to 5’ working pattern increased between 2000 and 2002 in the Netherlands, but has stabilised since then. About three quarters of Dutch employees at least occasionally work overtime. Shift work, evening or night work, and weekend work are most often recorded in the catering sector and in transport and communications. Employees working non-standard hours generally report unfavourable working conditions.
12 November 2007: Reduction in occupational injuries at the workplace (Spain / Information update)
The Health at Work Observatory recently published its 2006 ‘Occupational health report’, which analyses the current state of safety and health at work issues in Spain. The report identifies a remarkable decline in both fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries in recent years. It also suggests that Spanish workers cite greater exposure to psychosocial and organisational risk factors.
12 November 2007: Retail outlets in breach of health and safety laws (Poland / Information update)
The Polish media recently reported on the flagrant disrespect for the labour rights of persons employed in the retail trade. The majority of the objections related to non-compliance with health and safety legislation, as reflected in the results of investigations carried out by the National Labour Inspectorate in 2006. The inspectors give a number of reasons for the violations found, while employers cite lack of financial resources and overly complicated regulations.
12 November 2007: Employers’ attitudes towards part-time work (Czech Republic / Information update)
Some 36% of companies in the Czech Republic do not offer their employees the option to work part time. One in four employers are opposed to this type of working time arrangement, stating that part-time work is disadvantageous for both the company and employees. The possibility to work part time is most often enjoyed by employees in the public sector.
12 November 2007: Older unemployed workers less likely to find employment (Austria / Information update)
A study on the situation of older unemployed workers and their chances of reintegrating in the labour market reveals that age is a criterion for labour market exclusion. Moreover, age and the prejudices that are associated with older unemployed workers are not the only factors which contribute to difficulties in finding a job; the recent changes in working life, such as deteriorating working conditions and a higher work pace, also contribute to such problems.
29 October 2007: Situation of workplace health and safety representatives (Malta / Information update)
The General Workers’ Union carried out a study regarding health and safety representatives at different workplaces. The study revealed that representatives get most of their support from the trade union to which they are affiliated. Furthermore, the study indicated that not all representatives receive health and safety training, and that they are not always consulted by management.
29 October 2007: Working time flexibility improves work–life balance of working parents (Finland / Information update)
According to the Finnish Quality of Work Life Survey 2003, the possibility to use working time flexibility sufficiently for one’s own needs significantly contributes to the work–life balance of Finnish working parents. However, compared with employees with no children, working parents do not seem to have access to greater possibilities for this kind of positive flexibility of working time. Moreover, men can typically influence their working hours more than women can.
29 October 2007: Companies evade law on making temporary agency workers permanent (Greece / Information update)
Temporary agency work has become more common in Greece, with a twofold increase in the number of such contracts between 2003 and 2004. However, certain discrepancies arise between agency workers and other employees, not least in terms of pay. Moreover, user companies are evading the law in relation to making agency workers permanent after a certain period. Research concludes that the statutory framework should be changed to improve the rights of these workers.
29 October 2007: Disparity between awareness of and compliance with gender equality (Latvia / Information update)
Extensive research into gender equality in Latvia – conducted between July 2005 and January 2007 – has revealed a clear horizontal segregation in the labour market in terms of men and women being more prominent in certain occupations and economic sectors. Features of vertical segregation were also found, in that fewer women attained management positions. Gender role stereotypes had a considerable influence on labour market segregation.
16 October 2007: Profile of working poor and risk factors (Greece / Information update)
A recent study carried out by the Institute of Social Policy of the National Centre for Social Research examines the relationship between employment and poverty in Greece. The objectives of the study include identifying the groups of workers at greater risk of poverty, creating a profile for these groups, and identifying the factors that appear to increase the risk of poverty among employees.
15 October 2007: Flexible working environment can reduce absenteeism (EU Level / Information update)
A flexible working environment results in a reduction of the incidence of sick leave, according to a research report by the Swedish Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Addressing the problem of absenteeism, the report applies a new model for studying sick leave, namely the flexibility model. The research shows that employers can reduce absenteeism by applying the so-called ‘adjustment latitude principle’, tailoring work demands to match the capabilities of employees with health problems.
09 October 2007: Barriers to promotion for female managers (Spain / Information update)
The Centre for Sociological Research recently published a study analysing the factors that hinder Spanish female managers reaching senior management positions, according to the perceptions of female managers. In this respect, having children is perceived as one of the most significant barriers to pursuing a professional career, especially among the youngest managers.
09 October 2007: Women’s career span shorter by retirement age (Luxembourg / Information update)
A study analyses the gender differences in the total duration of active labour market participation among persons at retirement age in Luxembourg. Educational attainment and number of children have different effects on the careers of men and women. On average, 57–65 year old men have been employed for 38 years, compared with only 21 years for their female counterparts. The study concludes that more policies are needed to reconcile work and family responsibilities.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Cyprus (Cyprus / National Contribution)
This article is Cyprus’s contribution to the comparative analytical report of the European Working Conditions Observatory on the existing situation regarding the impact of work changes on the resurgence of work-related musculoskeletal diseases
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Norway (Norway / National Contribution)
Norway has no official definition of WR-MSDs. The most widespread definition is: : ”Work-related musculoskeletal disorders include pain, symptoms or reduced function located to bones, joints, muscles, tendons or nerves entirely or partly related to factors in the work environment”.In 2003 20 % of the employed reported immensely affected and quite affected of work-related complaints of pain in the musculoskeletal system during the last month before the interview (24 % of the women and 17 % of the men). Women reported more complaints than men for most of the locations, an exception was pain in the lumber region and lower back where both men and women reported 7 % substantial and relatively substantial complaints. The most commonly reported complaints to this extent by women were pain in the neck or upper part of the back (17 %) and pain in arms, wrist, or hands (12 %), men reported less pain in the neck or upper part of the back (11 %) and less pain in arms, wrist, or hands (7 %). Woman had more complaints than men in all age groups, and the age group 45-66 years had more complaints regarding pain in the musculoskeletal system than the younger age groups, and the complaints showed an increasing trend by age both for women and men. In a report the state costs regarding sick leave , rehabilation and disability pension due to MSD in 2002 was estimated to 28 billion NOK. Adding direct costs from stay in hospitals, treatment etc. the total costs were estimated to between 37 and 44 billion NOK.The government works according to a plan for a more inclusive labour market through closer and better cooperation with the social partners. In that context a the tripartite agreement on a more inclusive work place was established in October 2001. The main goal of the agreement is to prevent sic leave, to increase the focuNotes (delete if none)s on presence at work, to prevent expelling from work and to recruit people outside the work force into the work force.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Poland (Poland / National Contribution)
All research carried out to date in the European Union indicates that musculoskeletal problems afflict a relatively large group of employees and that they result in considerable expenses associated with treatment and rehabilitation. The present elaboration could not aspire to present a complementary element of this diagnosis, and a basic problem is posed in the fact that there is no Polish institution which would study issues relating to musculoskeletal conditions in a systematic, comprehensive way. Those institutions which do analyse related questions, meanwhile, do not have representative data for the entire country, at any rate not processed data. One can reasonably assume, however, that musculoskeletal complaints in Poland constitute a problem on a scale comparable to other European countries.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Luxemburg (Luxembourg / National Contribution)
There is no official definition of MSDs in Luxembourg,. A few diseases that can be categorised as MSDs following the commonly or general admitted meaning are recognised as professional diseases. The working of the compensation system that makes no distinction between occupational accidents and diseases on the one hand and the non-existence of working condition surveys handling the question of MSDs on the other hand do not permit to analyse clearly the situation. Even if MSDs seems not to be a priority for the majority of the businesses, some initiatives are localy taken. Luxembourg has implemented an important policy aiming to rehabilitate and maintain at work the workers suffering of health problems or disabilities that cannot benefit from the disability compensation system.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Slovakia (Slovakia / National Contribution)
In Slovakia, Occupational diseases including musculoskeletal diseases (MSD) have been long-term observed since 1976. This kind of diseases are being surveyed, reported and registered at the Ministry of Health SR. The main processing body is the National Centre of Medical Information in Bratislava. Musculoskeletal diseases have been on the 1st place in the reported new occupational diseases since 1997.The article deals with situation in this area, provides statistical data by gender and selected industrial branches as well as proposals for measures in order to decrease the number of this kind of diseases in the Slovak Republic.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Slovenia (Slovenia / National Contribution)
Already for a longer period MSDs represent the most frequent reason for sick leave in Slovenia. In 2004, 14.19% of cases of sick leave among men were caused by MSDs, while among women the percentage was 10.46. The average duration of sick leave caused by MSDs in 2004 was 29.65 days. The highest percentage of sick leave days per person due to MSDs is in the age group 45 – 64 years (both for men and women). Most frequent among MSDs are backaches (more than half of cases of sick leave caused by MSDs). In terms of prevention of occupational diseases bigger and medium-size enterprises put more emphasis on safety at work place and working conditions than small enterprises. Also there is more concern about working conditions and safety at work in enterprises in manufacturing sector than in service sector, where working conditions seem to be less risky.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Ireland (Ireland / National Contribution)
This study examines the impact of work changes on the resurgence of work-related musculoskeletal diseases in Ireland, as of 2006.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Belgium (Belgium / National Contribution)
This questionnaire deals with the question how the problem of work-related musculoskeletal diseases is tackled in Belgium.
08 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders (EU Countries / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 1030 kb])
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is the most widespread occupational-related illness in the EU. However, despite this prevalence, there have been few efforts to estimate the overall costs of the illness. Statistics on MSDs tend to underestimate the extent while failing to take the national situation and changing work context into account. Researchers agree that nowadays MSDs which are directly linked to strenuous working conditions are on the decline, while those related to stress and work overload are increasing. Organisational problems can be at the root of MSDs, and a participatory approach to prevention policies has found to be effective.
08 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders— Latvia (Latvia / National Contribution)
In Latvia musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is a widely-spread type of occupational disease. In 2004 MSDs formed the first, but in 2005 the second largest group f occupational diseases (35% and 30% of all occupational diseases respectively). In Latvia, an extensive work protection system has been established containing special measures for prevention of causes of MSDs. Stage One of European Occupational Diseases Statistics (EODS) is being implemented and the first national WCS is being established. There is Occupational Diseases Register. Studies are conducted on spreading, causes and prevention of MSDs. In policy-making the traditional approach and „risk elimination oriented” prevention and information policies are the dominant ones. Organizational factors related policies and notion “room to manoeuvre” are not used.
08 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders— Lithuania (Lithuania / National Contribution)
In Lithuania, the term ‘work-related musculoskeletal diseases’ is little-used. As far as the authors are aware of, there have been no systematic studies carried our in this field in Lithuania. It is only information about occupational diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue that has been accumulated and analysed.
08 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders (Greece / National Contribution)
Serious deficiencies in the recording system of Musculoskeletal Disorders do not leave great room of implementing specific policies in order to combat such symptoms of health problems related to work in Greece. The influence of relevant EU directives seems to be extremely crucial as the national regulatory framework regarding the issue of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders is heavily influenced and relied on them.
08 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Malta (Malta / National Contribution)
This article is Malta’s contribution to the comparative analytical report of the European Working Conditions Observatory on the existing situation regarding Managing musculoskeletal diseases
01 October 2007: Pilot scheme to aid redundant workers proves effective (Estonia / Information update)
Between 2005 and 2007, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund piloted a new labour market service providing help for employees and employers in cases of collective redundancy. A recent evaluation of the service concludes that it improved the job prospects of those made redundant, thereby reducing the cost of unemployment benefits for this group. However, economic growth was strong during the period, which may have influenced the outcome.
01 October 2007: Socially responsible practices in SMEs (Portugal / Information update)
Portuguese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have already implemented some corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures but these are not formally recognised. Since a large number of SMEs are certified in areas such as quality, environment, safety, hygiene and health at work, a partnership project led by the Ceramics and Glass Technological Centre concluded that the formal adoption of CSR practices in SMEs is possible.
24 September 2007: Quality of working conditions in office work (Germany / Information update)
While office workers enjoy better than average working conditions and express a higher degree of job satisfaction, a recent study on perception of workplace quality by office workers reveals great variations in working conditions among these workers and a strong gender segregation. Only a minority of predominately male full-time workers work in ‘good office jobs’ when wages, benefits, employee support and job demands are taken into consideration.
24 September 2007: General support for lower retirement age (Poland / Information update)
Compared with the 1990s, public opinion polls in recent years indicate that support for a lower retirement age has decreased among men and women. Nevertheless, Poles still tend to believe that women should retain the right to retire at an earlier age than men. Moreover, 2005 data reveal that a majority of those interviewed opposed the same retirement age for both sexes.
24 September 2007: Impact of skills mismatch on gender wage gap (Sweden / Information update)
A study published by the Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation in October 2006 concludes that a mismatch of workers’ skills to the level of education required for their job contributes to the gender wage gap. In this regard, if women were overeducated or undereducated for their occupation to the same extent as men the wage gap would decrease. Overall, the mismatch of skills is more prevalent in private sector jobs and is more common among women.
17 September 2007: New code of practice to prevent sexual harassment at work (Cyprus / Information update)
The Equality Authority in Cyprus has published a code of practice aimed at combating all forms of workplace harassment, by offering practical guidance to employers and workers. The code also sets out procedures for preventing sexual harassment, which is now defined as a form of discrimination and workplace violence under Cypriot legislation. Although sexual harassment has received wider attention in recent years, society still holds prejudices against the victims.
17 September 2007: Continuing vocational training still not priority for employers (Bulgaria / Information update)
According to the National Statistical Institute’s survey on continuing vocational training (CVT), the proportion of enterprises that provided CVT in 2005 is lower than in 2002, although the figure represented an improvement on the results for 2004. The survey finds differences in participation in CVT by sector, company size and sex. More than 70% of organisations surveyed did not provide any training for their employees.
11 September 2007: Current trends in lifelong learning (Bulgaria / Survey data report [ or view as size 244 kb])
This report reviews the main results of the first lifelong learning survey in Bulgaria based on the 2003 ad hoc module of Eurostat’s labour force survey. The findings indicate significantly lower participation levels than in the other EU Member States. Some 80% of the Bulgarian population aged 15 years and over did not participate in any form of learning activity in the 12 month period prior to the survey interview. Older workers in particular and employers need to be encouraged to pursue a strategy of lifelong learning.
10 September 2007: Wide variations in minimum wage among EU Member States (EU Level / Information update)
Minimum wage levels vary considerably among the 20 EU Member States which have minimum wage systems. This disparity still applies even when minimum wages are expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS), albeit on a lesser scale. Differences may also be observed in the relation between minimum wages and average earnings, in the proportion of full-time employees earning the minimum wage, and in the share of women and men affected.
10 September 2007: Actions to combat use of undeclared work in companies (Romania / Information update)
A recent report by the Labour Inspection Office reveals that the proportion of companies using undeclared work has fluctuated. This proportion amounted to 9.5% in 2000, 12.9% in 2001, 4.7% in 2002 and increased again to 9.5% in 2006. The highest incidence of undeclared work was recorded in the construction sector, as well as the textiles and food industries. The report also outlines the reasons given for using this form of work and possible means of curtailing its use.
10 September 2007: Labour market flexibility and employment protection (Czech Republic / Information update)
Standardised international indices show that the Czech Republic ranks among the countries with the most flexible regulations in the area of employment. Nevertheless, Czech employers believe that the national labour market is too rigid. Recent changes to the labour code have introduced greater flexibility for employees on permanent contracts and more security for those on temporary contracts, but a significant gap remains between these two categories.
10 September 2007: Factors influencing sickness absence (Denmark / Information update)
In Denmark, it is believed that sickness absence costs the economy about DKK 32 billion (€4.3 billion) each year. A recent report published by the National Research Centre for the Working Environment concludes that factors such as sex, age, education, job and social status, as well as physical and psychosocial factors, all influence the level of sickness absence.
27 August 2007: Workers in contact with public more exposed to aggression (France / Information update)
About 71% of employees have contact with the public in their professional activity. These workers are frequently subject to atypical working times and are often interrupted in their work. More than 20% of these workers report having experienced verbal aggression and 2% state that they have been physically attacked. The workers most concerned by aggression are those working nights or at weekends who are subject to very high work intensity and rigid forms of work organisation.
27 August 2007: Gender pay gap decreasing but wide variations between sectors (Sweden / Information update)
In 2006, women’s wages increased more than men’s in all sectors except the public sector at municipal level. While there are signs therefore of a declining gender pay gap, sectoral wage differences remain considerable. The highest wages are found in the private sector among white-collar workers, while the lowest are recorded in the public sector at municipal level.
27 August 2007: Employer group urges companies to adopt diversity strategies (Ireland / Information update)
Responding to the rapid diversification of Ireland’s labour force, the country’s main employer representative, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), launched an initiative in June 2007 to encourage member organisations to adopt a strategic approach to diversity management. A recent IBEC seminar on the issue aimed to place diversity management high on the business agenda and to highlight how it can enhance productivity and innovation.
27 August 2007: Significant sectoral variations in levels of shift work (Romania / Information update)
Household labour force survey data indicate that, in 2005, 24.1% of employees in Romania worked in shifts, compared with 26.1% in 2002. Men account for 54% of the total; however, large gender gaps arise in certain economic sectors. In terms of location, more than 75% of shift work is carried out in urban areas. The sectors where shift work is most prevalent are the extraction industry, hotels and restaurants, and health and social work.
27 August 2007: People more willing to work until retirement age (Netherlands / Information update)
Willingness to work until retirement age is increasing in the Netherlands: from 21% in 2005 to 26% in 2006. People’s willingness and ability to work until retirement are related to demographics, current health and work characteristics. Significant sectoral differences emerge, and the gap between being willing and being able varies considerably. This gap constitutes the scope for increasing the labour force by encouraging employees who can to stay in work.
27 August 2007: Need for greater flexibility in parental benefit system (Estonia / Information update)
In recent months, two studies have highlighted the need for more flexibility in Estonia’s parental leave and parental benefit system. The reports suggest making it easier to combine part-time work and part-time parental leave. Fathers should also be encouraged to take parental leave. At present, traditional gender roles prevail and women’s careers are undermined by lengthy breaks away from the workplace.
27 August 2007: Poor information and communication hinders functioning of works councils (Lithuania / Information update)
In 2006, the Institute of Labour and Social Research carried out a study aiming to assess the practical application of the Law on Works Councils, adopted in 2004. The research findings reveal that on average only 4% of Lithuanian companies have elected works councils. However, this proportion increases with the size of the enterprise.
20 August 2007: Integrating young people into the labour market (Portugal / Information update)
The entry of young people into the labour market is becoming more complex and extended in time. Many young individuals are only partially integrated in the labour market through semi-formal, temporary or part-time work situations, while they would prefer to be fully integrated. A recent study has proposed the creation of more jobs, incentives to hire young people on permanent contracts and support for young entrepreneurs, among a series of recommendations.
20 August 2007: Changing work organisation results in mixed effects (United Kingdom / Information update)
A recent study by the Equal Opportunities Commission on the transformation of work from the perspective of UK employers reveals mixed developments in terms of work organisation and flexible working arrangements. Although flexible working arrangements are becoming more widely used by employers, efforts to improve work–life balance are jeopardised by pressures to increase work intensification.
20 August 2007: New tools to monitor occupational health hazards (France / Information update)
Since 1998, the occupational health department of the French Institute for Health Surveillance has been developing a comprehensive programme of problem-oriented monitoring in relation to health hazards in the workplace. Among a range of sub-programmes, the institute examines the situation with regard to mental health at work. Up to now, little monitoring has taken place in this area.
20 August 2007: Home teleworkers need more time to recover after work (Netherlands / Information update)
In the Netherlands, on average 4.6% of employees perform normal working hours at home. However, large differences emerge between occupational groups and in the relation between job demands and hours worked at home. Although working at home is perceived as improving work–life balance, in fact it is associated with needing more time for recovery after work. This may partly be caused by high job demands.
13 August 2007: Boundaries of entrepreneurship and salaried work overlap (Finland / Information update)
Entrepreneurship and salaried work have traditionally been regarded as two different career paths in Finland. However, a recent study reveals that in some occupational groups the boundaries between these two occupations overlap. The work of freelance journalists, artists, translators and interpreters, for example, is typically characteristic of both entrepreneurship and salaried work. The study findings challenge the country’s educational, legislative and social security systems.
13 August 2007: Main drivers and obstacles in job mobility (Malta / Information update)
The Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) commissioned research on obstacles to job mobility. The study was conducted among unemployed persons who registered with ETC as well as those who used European employment services in Malta. Among the barriers identified were linguistic and cultural factors, legal and bureaucratic difficulties, and social issues. The main triggers for working abroad were better working conditions and better income.
13 August 2007: Employment patterns of female migrant workers (Greece / Information update)
It has proved difficult in practice for female immigrants living in Greece to acquire and renew residence permits, according to a study by the Greek General Confederation of Labour/Confederation of Public Servants. The main reasons for this are the requirements of the country’s statutory framework governing immigration and the fact that female immigrants are largely employed in sectors where undeclared work is widespread.
13 August 2007: Negative impact of job demands on work–life balance of police officers (Netherlands / Information update)
Work demands may interfere with a person’s ability to function in the non-work domain. This phenonemon of ‘work–home interference’ has been found to lead to depression and fatigue among Dutch police officers; moreover, such health problems accumulate if this work situation is sustained over a one-year period. In order to foster employee well-being, workers should be supported in balancing their work and non-work lives.
13 August 2007: New plan to improve workplace health and safety (Poland / Information update)
Plans to adapt Polish practice to the current EU strategy with respect to health and safety at work were formulated in accordance with recommendations issued by the Labour Protection Council endeavour The plans were drafted on the basis of a report commissioned by the Polish government from the Central Institute for Labour Protection. The social partners are now considering the proposals.
13 August 2007: Barriers to labour market integration of migrant workers (Ireland / Information update)
Recent studies examining the labour market impact of immigrants in Ireland highlight the possible existence of barriers to the job mobility and integration of migrant workers. Obstacles include non-recognition of qualifications and an occupational gap in the sense that immigrants are, on average, less likely to work in high-level, high-status occupations relative to Irish nationals. Some non-EU migrants are being displaced by migrants from the new EU Member States.
06 August 2007: Attitudes of managers towards health and safety at work (Slovenia / Information update)
Managers in Slovenian organisations are, on average, well aware of the importance of employees’ health for the functioning of the organisation, and of the mutual impact of work and health on each other. Female managers are more sensitive to health at work issues than their male counterparts. However, in practice, the majority of managers deal with health and safety issues at work only when required to rather than on a regular basis.
06 August 2007: Employment rates of older workers on the rise (Finland / Information update)
In recent years, employment has risen considerably among older workers in Finland. While in 1999, less than 40% of those aged 55 years were employed, this had increased to 55% by 2006. The growth is due on the one hand to the various national programmes launched since the end of the 1990s to attract people into work, and to the pension policy reforms of 2005 on the other. According to the Finnish Quality of Work Life Survey, higher education levels among older workers have also had a positive impact on employment.
06 August 2007: Parliamentary report recommends actions to improve work–life balance (Spain / Information update)
The Spanish parliament has recently approved a report on the regulation and adaptation of working time and work flexibility in Spain, aimed at reconciling work, family and personal life. This report underlines the existing gender-related differences with regard to work–life balance and provides a number of recommendations for improving the situation, both for public institutions and private enterprises.
06 August 2007: Barriers to labour market integration of migrant workers (Greece / Information update)
Research into ethnic discrimination and social exclusion in Greece has identified particular roles that have an important influence on the situation of migrant workers. People working in services which grant residence and work permits, for example, may be described as ‘gatekeepers’ as they allow or restrict the integration of immigrants. The study assessed perceptions in respect of immigrants and made recommendations for changing attitudes and better services.
30 July 2007: Critical role of managers in employee information and consultation (United Kingdom / Information update)
In the spring of 2007, the Department of Trade and Industry published the results of a study on the role of information and consultation practices in the workplace. The report notes an overall increase in the coverage of information and consultation methods. It also reveals that the ways in which the policies were implemented was crucial to their success. As the role of management has become more important, policy should also be directed at improving managers’ capability to engage in participative decision making.
30 July 2007: More progress in gender equality needed (Greece / Information update)
A study commissioned by the Research Centre for Gender Equality (KETHI) analysed the policies that have been developed at European level, and particularly at national level, to promote the employment of women. According to the authors, the gender dimension of employment policies at both European and national levels is a relatively recent development, which coincided with the promotion of gender equality indirectly, through special measures designed to promote female employment. The study was first published in February 2005 by KETHI.
30 July 2007: Trends in labour migration between regions (Hungary / Information update)
Following the political and economic upheaval in 1989, Hungary’s labour market has undergone major changes resulting in massive unemployment. Since then, while many new jobs have been created in some areas of the country, the situation has worsened in other regions. A study published in 2006 looks at factors restricting worker mobility and outlines characteristics of internal migration. It suggests that large-scale migration could aggravate the economic situation in poorer regions.
30 July 2007: Rise in labour market participation of migrant workers (Slovenia / Information update)
Demands from employers for work permits for workers from outside the European Union, from so-called ‘third countries’, have increased substantially in the last two years. Such demands have risen largely in the construction sector and in metal manufacturing where it is difficult to attract domestic workers. The majority of foreign workers in Slovenia are from countries of the former Yugoslavia, are mostly men and have a low level of education.
23 July 2007: Earnings of older employees lagging behind (Czech Republic / Information update)
On average, employees aged over 50 years are paid less than their younger colleagues, according to a recent survey conducted by the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs. The structure of pay and wages in the Czech Republic appears to be more market-oriented in comparison with its neighbouring countries. The principle of seniority has almost ceased to exist in company wage systems, and employers are clearly giving priority to younger workers with respect to remuneration.
23 July 2007: Working conditions in corporate consultancy (Austria / Information update)
Corporate consultancy is a high-profile economic sector, with significant growth in employment levels across Europe in recent years. Nevertheless, the sector faces certain problems with regard to working conditions. Research findings indicate that consultancy work is characterised by high workload, increased work pressure, long working hours and considerable demand for mobility.
23 July 2007: New strategy to improve health and safety at work (Latvia / Information update)
On 27 March 2007, Latvia’s Ministry of Welfare presented the results of the EU Twinning project on the further development of the occupational health and safety strategy. The project included four components: development of the National Action Plan for the occupational health and safety strategy, strengthening of institutions in the field of occupational health and safety at work, capacity building of the State Labour Inspectorate and enhancing social dialogue.
16 July 2007: Annual review of working conditions in the EU 2006–2007 (EU Countries / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 820 kb])
This fourth annual review examines four key dimensions of working conditions and quality of work and employment: career and employment, health and well-being at work, skills development and work–life balance. The report outlines relevant legislative and policy developments, and examines trends in the workplace.
16 July 2007: Towards more effective monitoring of the workplace (Greece / Information update)
The implementation of labour law in the workplace in Greece is not generally perceived to be adequately monitored. This shortcoming represents an important element of the labour market flexibility debate, which continues to divide political parties and stakeholders in the national industrial relations process. However, a 2005 study on the performance of the labour inspectorate shows that the reforms of recent years are having a positive effect.
16 July 2007: Barriers to women’s participation in decision-making positions (Malta / Information update)
The National Council of Women commissioned a study to examine the views of the general public with regard to the participation of women in decision-making jobs. Childcare responsibilities are viewed as the most significant obstacle faced by women in obtaining decision-making posts. While most respondents believe that there should be a gender balance in parliamentary and local council representation, a minority think that men are more suitable for such posts.
16 July 2007: New bill on health and safety at work in pipeline (Italy / Information update)
In April 2007, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security presented a bill for a new regulatory text on health and safety at work. The main aims are to coordinate the various public bodies involved, consult with the social partners, simplify the administrative burden and promote a risk prevention approach, including the teaching of basic health and safety principles at school.
10 July 2007: Income poverty in the European Union (EU Level / Survey data report [ or view as size 212 kb])
Although the EU is an economically well-off region in comparison with the rest of the world, the EU Member States are still faced with the problem of income poverty. Recent Eurostat statistics show that 16% of the EU25 population was at risk of poverty in 2003. The data indicate that employment is the main factor in offsetting the risk of income poverty. However, the phenomenon of in-work poverty is also prevalent in the EU.
10 July 2007: Absenteeism rate stabilises after five-year increase (Belgium / Information update)
For the first time in five years, sickness-related absenteeism has not increased in Belgium. According to reports from the human resource service providers Securex and SD Worx, the degree of sickness-related absenteeism has remained steady. However, this general trend hides large differences depending on key employee characteristics. Both studies consider that the costs of this absenteeism are still too high for employers.
09 July 2007: Low levels of job commitment among civil servants (Estonia / Information update)
According to a public servants’ work commitment survey, civil servants have a lower level of commitment than private sector employees do. This may be due to the fact that public servants do not feel valued in society, in addition to perceived problems concerning salary levels and fair treatment. The study makes a series of recommendations to raise work commitment levels.
09 July 2007: Low degree of working time flexibility (Bulgaria / Information update)
The official labour market in Bulgaria remains relatively inflexible with regard to working time. Despite labour law amendments granting employers the freedom to reduce or increase working time and to offer part-time and flexible working arrangements, only about 2% of employees work part time and 3% work on temporary contracts. Other flexible arrangements in companies are rare.
05 July 2007: Quality in work and employment — Spain (Spain / National Contribution)
After decades when high unemployment rates were the main problem of the Spanish labour market, nowadays the debate on quality of work in Spain is dominated by the question of temporary employment and how to reduce the excessive proportion of fixed term contracts. These contracts are generally related to deficient working conditions in all the considered domains. Thus a number of measures are being put in practice as a result of a prolonged process of agreement amongst social partners in order to establish a new balance between flexibility and security in employment. Health and safety at work is another subject high on the agenda, with a severe rate of work accidents, in spite of improvements in prevention systems. Also work-life balance is gaining importance within the quality of work scene.
03 July 2007: Quality in work and employment — Greece (Greece / National Contribution)
In Greece, the need to increase employment and decrease unemployment continues to overshadow the issue of improving quality in work. Despite certain efforts in recent years turned in the direction of bringing quality of work to the fore as an immediate policy priority, present-day reality in most workplaces shows that even more serious and decisive steps are needed for a real improvement of working conditions and terms and conditions of employment.
02 July 2007: Quality in work and employment — France (France / National Contribution)
In France, for the past ten years, the employment issues has been the major concern of policy makers. Different solutions have been put forward by different governements : working time reduction, deregulation, etc. Whatever the initial purpose, all these policies contributed, more or less, to a general evolution toward more flexibility, which does not always result in an improvement of the quality of work for all : some sub-groups of workers (unqualified, younger workers etc.) are subject to deteriorating employment conditions (precariousness, involuntary part-time work etc.) with difficult working conditions (atypical working times, physically arduous work (penibilite) etc.). Activity rates remain very low for workers over the age of 50.
02 July 2007: Quality of work and employment in Europe (EU Countries / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 739 kb])
The concept of quality of work forms an integral part of the European social model, although the emphasis often leans more towards indicators of quantity than quality in employment. This report examines the EU policy context and assesses quality of work across the Member States in relation to four key aspects: employment security, health and well-being, skills development and work–life balance.
02 July 2007: Union calls for equal rights for temporary agency workers (United Kingdom / Information update)
In February 2007, the Trades Union Congress published a report on the employment conditions of temporary agency workers. The report sets out the legal position of agency workers, and makes suggestions for future legislation aimed at improving their labour market position. The proposals include the demand of equal employment rights for all workers and employees, and of licensing all employment agencies, as well as abolishing unreasonable fees.
02 July 2007: Stress prevention initiatives need to be evaluated (Denmark / Information update)
The topic of stress is a high priority on the public agenda in Denmark and there have been significant efforts made both to prevent and deal with stress. Whether these efforts are having a positive impact is insufficiently monitored, according to a new analysis of the National Institute of Public Health. The latter has identified several problems concerning stress prevention and treatment programmes, including a lack of programmes targeting people outside the labour market.
02 July 2007: Employer attitudes towards employees with preschool age children (Lithuania / Information update)
In the framework of the EQUAL initiative, a Lithuanian project aimed to minimise the labour market exclusion of families with young children. Some 30 employers were interviewed in order to ascertain their attitude towards employees – primarily women – with preschool age children. Less than half of the employers facilitated their employees with preschool age children in reconciling their family and work life.
02 July 2007: Fall in number of people on disability pension (Poland / Information update)
Poland has one of the highest rates of people of working age with an officially certified work incapacity in the EU. In recent years, however, a downward trend in the scale of disability benefits has been observed. Data on medical decisions concerning work incapacity sheds some light on the issue, while the public auditor points to the problems still present in social security policy regarding working disabilities.
02 July 2007: Rise in child labour raises concern (Bulgaria / Information update)
According to a national survey, child labour is increasing in Bulgaria. About 6.5% of children aged between five and 17 years work in the private sector, 32.3% are unpaid workers in the household and family-owned businesses, and 41.8% do some domestic work. Other sources confirm this trend. The General Labour Inspectorate issued twice as many work permits for underage workers in 2006 as in 2003.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Cyprus (Cyprus / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Cyprus.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Czech Republic (Czech Republic / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Czech Republic.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Germany (Germany / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Germany.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Denmark (Denmark / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Denmark.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Estonia (Estonia / National Contribution)
Abstract: Although the main concern for employees, state and social partners has been employment in general, the importance of the quality employment is increasing. The decent salary has had a central place in social dialogue. There are also concerns on the lack of health and occupational insurance and poor health of workers, low participation in life-long learning and vocational education that has resulted in a lack of skilled workers; the flexibilization of labour market together with increasing employment security. Sufficient and flexible childcare and parental leave are seen as main tools in supporting family and work reconciliation.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment— Finland (Finland / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution ofFinland.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Hungary (Hungary / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Hungary.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Ireland (Ireland / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Ireland.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Italy (Italy / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Italy.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Lithuania (Lithuania / National Contribution)
The issue of quality in work and employment is insufficiently addressed in Lithuania: this refers both to the social partners and public authorities. Information on various issues relating to the quality in work and employment is not collected, analysed and summarised on a systematic basis in Lithuania.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Luxemburg (Luxembourg / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Luxemburg.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Latvia (Latvia / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment as a whole is not a key issue of activities of social partners, but related topics such as labour contract, security and work, pay, are. The quality of work and employment system is built on two cornerstones – legislation and its implementation and performance control. The first is responsibility of the Government; the second is responsibility of the State Labour Inspectorate. Social partners participate in producing of legislation acts and follow implementation and performance, but only in some issues they are initiators. In this employers are more active in promoting the “flexicurity” concept and new forms of employment relations, while trade unions tend to be more concerned by pay issues.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Malta (Malta / National Contribution)
The issue of quality in work and employment has increased in its importance among Maltese social partners and other relevant players over the past years. Unions are now giving more prominence to quality of employment by covering topics such as opportunities for personal development, working hours, discrimination and harassment, and health and safety in their collective agreements. Both employers and unions value training and are providing employees with greater opportunities to develop their skills and abilities. However, since many measures potentially contributing to better working conditions are still being sidelined, more needs to be done to improve the situation.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — The Netherlands (Netherlands / National Contribution)
After an economic recession starting 2001, employment in the Netherlands is growing again since 2005. This rise in employment shows some salient aspects of the labour force, and which are caused by the greying and de-greening (reduced inflow of younger workers into the labour market) of the work force. Companies appear to want employees to be relatively young (ideal age between 20 and 35), who have high educations, are (were) not absent due to sickness and are Dutch.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Norway (Norway / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Norway.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Poland (Poland / National Contribution)
In Poland the overall issues of quality of work and employment are still not seen as important for politicians and social partners. The primary questions seem to be the creation of new job places. On the other hand the growing emigration, mainly young and relatively well educated employees to the other EU countries probably may serve to stimulate the discussion concerning the quality of work and employment in Poland..
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Portugal (Portugal / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Portugal.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Romania (Romania / National Contribution)
Abstract: The concept of ‘flexicurity’ was included for the first time in the National Reforms Programme – Lisbon Strategy 2006, opened for public debate by the Government of Romania. So far the concept has found no significant echo in social partners or the mass-media.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Slovenia (Slovenia / National Contribution)
In Slovenian employment policy quantity of employment is currently more emphasized than issues of quality of work. The need to increase employment flexibility is strongly stressed by employers and the Government. Proposals for changes in employment legislation concerning more numerical flexibility are being strongly negotiated by social partners. Flexicurity concept is often referred to by all social partners, but it remains unclear how it would be implemented. Reconciliation of work and family/private life is supported by legislative regulations concerning paid parental leaves and provision of publicly subsidised child-care services, but organisations have very rarely developed any additional practices or initiatives that would exceed the legislative standards. Evidence shows an increase in intensification of work and insecurity of employment.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Slovakia (Slovakia / National Contribution)
Importance of the working conditions in the process of increase of the quality in work is highlighted in the system measures of the Slovak Government as well as in the trade unions activities. Following the liberalisation of the business environment, the employers organisations pay increased attention to the working conditions. At present, flexicurity as the expression of balance between the labour market flexibility and employment security is the subject of discussions and seeking the ways of its implementation in the Slovak Republic. The question of relationship between health and social and psychical well being is still not sufficiently accepted by the employers nor the employees. However, the general public in Slovakia starts to be sensible to this issue. It is reflected also in the support provided by the educational system as well as in the approach to the life-long learning. The effort of reconciliation of work and family life is subject of the public policy. Although some concrete measures have to been taken the current situation is not satisfactory.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Belgium (Belgium / National Contribution)
The public debate on quality of work came (again) to prominence in Belgium from the mid-90s. It was the Belgian presidency that pushed the issue on the agenda of the European Employment Strategy in 2001. In 2002, the Federal administration published its ‘Belgian report on the quality of work’. However, policy makers use in the country normally a more strict definition of quality of work. It is related to the intrinsic and extrinsic qualities of somebody's job (job content, labour conditions, working conditions and social relations) and is not related to the quality performance of the labour market. Very often it is even more restricted to only ‘well-being at work’. Between 2000 and 2005 the issue certainly grew in importance. The appointment in 2003 of a Federal State Secretary for Organisation of Work and Well-being at Work was symbolic in this regard (see also national survey report on the Flemish Workability Monitor, BE060601SD).
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — UK (United Kingdom / National Contribution)
This national fact sheet traverses four key areas of research on quality in work and employment in the UK: career and employment, health and well-being, skills development and work-life balance. It also evaluates a wide range of qualitative and quantitative studies in order to assess the current profile of and significance attributed to the subject of quality of work in both academic and practitioner circles.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Austria (Austria / National Contribution)
Quality in work and employment as a public topic play in Austria today – due to changes in the political landscape - a minor role than 10 years ago. One indicator is the increase of atypical forms of employment. However there are some intiatives by unions and social partners going on to improve the quality of work and employment.
29 June 2007: Quality in work and employment — Bulgaria (Bulgaria / National Contribution)
Quality of work and employment is back at the top of the European employment and social policy agenda. At the first Informal meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs held under the German Presidency on 18/20 January 2007 in Berlin, agreement was reached on a set of policy principles covering what the Presidency termed ‘good work’ – a new EU terminology following on from the ILO use of ‘decent work, and the more established EU mantra of ‘more and better jobs’.This is the contribution of Bulgaria.
26 June 2007: Place of work and working conditions – France (France / National Contribution)
This report analyses the working conditions of three different types of employees not working at their usual place of work in France: teleworkers, employees working at customer’ s premises (home care and subcontracting), and those travelling frequently as an important part of their job. Workplace diversity can be the cause for additional occupational hazards. Employees have to adapt to different working environments, which has an impact on their exposure to occupational hazards, and they frequently travel from one place to another, thereby subjecting themselves to road-related risks.
26 June 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — France (France / National Contribution)
The question of the working conditions of "migrants" relates to quite complex issues in France. Referring to the formal definition of "migrants" (non nationals) leads to keep in the shade the major problems of discrimination at work towards the "visible minorities", as those are in large part French citizens. Within a lack of ethnical statistics, the knowledge on the actual situation of "migrants" (in the wide meaning) compared to that of natives is difficult to apprehend. The main point is that, migrants tend to concentrate more than natives in unqualified jobs, with precarious employment status. The fact that even in the "second generation" is concerned by this situation highlights the difficulties of the French educational system to offer social integration and promotion for those who do not benefit of a favourable family background (high educated parents, with a network of professional relations).
25 June 2007: Human resource strategies in small enterprises (Lithuania / Information update)
A survey of newly-formed micro and small enterprises in Lithuania examined issues relating to the employment, training and motivation of employees. Employers often rely on personal recommendations when recruiting staff and most of the companies were satisfied with the skills and qualifications of their employees. Some 57% of small Lithuanian enterprises applied staff motivation measures.
25 June 2007: Financial incentives play strong role in motivating employees (Bulgaria / Information update)
An organisational survey on corporate attitudes carried out by the professional services company KPMG in early 2007 reveals the leading role of financial rewards and bonuses in motivating workers and increasing their commitment to the company they work for. Nevertheless, the combined influence of non-financial incentives, such as showing recognition to employees and seeking their opinions, is also an important factor influencing workers’ motivation.
25 June 2007: Variations in employment and education levels across regions (Greece / Information update)
A recent study by the Institute of Labour of the Greek General Confederation of Labour/Confederation of Public Servants has shown that the distribution of the educational levels of workers throughout the country reflects varied employment rates between the regions. The main finding is that regions with dense population have the highest percentage of university graduates, while sparsely populated regions mainly absorb workers with low levels of education.
18 June 2007: Women not more exposed than men to work-related physical risks (Netherlands / Information update)
Contrary to the general assumption that women are physically weaker than men, recent analyses show that exposure to work-related occupational risk factors is neither systematically higher for women nor does it cause them to develop musculoskeletal disorders to a greater extent than men do. It seems that the gender difference in the occurrence of MSD is caused by exposure to other factors than are solely work related.
18 June 2007: Number of occupational accidents on the decline (Portugal / Information update)
According to statistics issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, the number of accidents at work is on the decline. Moreover, as recent figures show, this trend also applies to fatal accidents at work. However, the reality is that more than 150 persons die every year in Portugal as a result of an accident at work. Through its National Action Programme for Growth and Employment 2005–2008, the government aims to promote risk prevention at the workplace.
18 June 2007: School-to-work transition of young people (Malta / Information update)
The Employment and Training Corporation published a report on the school- to-work transition of young people in Malta. According to the findings, young people seem to manage this transition without difficulty. Work-related outcomes appear to be influenced by the sex of the individual, the type of school attended, the level of education and the father’s occupation.
18 June 2007: High incidence of non-standard working hours (Romania / Information update)
The household labour force survey shows that, in 2005, 31.7% of employed persons worked in the evening, 11.8% worked nights, 56.9% on Saturdays and 30.1% on Sundays. Of the 5.2 million people who worked on Saturdays, 46.6% were employed in agriculture and mining, 32.7% worked in services and 20.7% were in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
18 June 2007: Women underrepresented in company decision-making processes (Luxembourg / Information update)
In 2004, the Centre for Population, Poverty and Socioeconomic Policy Studies carried out a survey to assess the development of women’s participation in the decision-making processes of companies since 2000. The survey findings indicate that the participation of women in this regard is significantly lower than their representation in the overall workforce. The situation has barely improved since 2000.
11 June 2007: Inflexible working hours an obstacle to work–life balance (Lithuania / Information update)
In 2005, a survey of families and parents with preschool-age children was carried out in Lithuania as part of the implementation of the EQUAL project on reconciling work and family life. The survey aimed to define the needs of such families/parents in balancing work and family duties. It revealed that 76% of employees faced some difficulties in reconciling work and childcare. As a result, the respondents are calling for longer opening hours of preschool education facilities.
11 June 2007: Stress at work on the increase (United Kingdom / Information update)
In December 2006, the Department of Trade and Industry examined the nature of job quality in the UK using nationally representative survey data from 1998 and 2004. In doing so, it focused partially on issues relating to employee stress and effort. Significantly, there appears to be little change in work intensity levels between the two survey dates, but stress levels are reported to be on the increase.
11 June 2007: Employment situation of migrant women (Cyprus / Information update)
In 2006, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies produced a shadow report to the Cypriot government’s report for the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The report’s basic findings included, among others, information on the integration of migrant women in the Cypriot labour force and on their working and living conditions. Furthermore, it highlighted some of the measures proposed for dealing with these issues.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers (EU Countries / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 1657 kb])
This report presents an overview of the employment and working conditions of migrant workers in the European Union. In most countries, migrant workers have higher unemployment rates and, when in employment, tend to be segregated in unskilled occupations and exposed to higher risks of over-qualification. Moreover, they experience considerable job insecurity, and the sectors and occupations where they are employed are characterised by less advantageous working conditions. Overall, women and young migrants are particularly vulnerable. Although there is increasing awareness of the crucial role played by migrant workers in the economic growth of countries, greater attention needs to be paid to their employment and working conditions.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions (EU Countries / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 362 kb])
This report focuses on the working conditions of EU workers who may have more than one place of work. It examines the range of health and safety risks facing these workers and also considers issues surrounding the organisation of work. These include autonomy and supervision issues, potential problems stemming from isolation of workers who work away from their colleagues and effects on job demands and the pace of work. The report also investigates issues surrounding working time and work–life balance for these workers, including flexibility in the organisation of work, impact on working time, and the potential for the blurring of boundaries between private life and working life in the case of those who work at home.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Luxembourg (Luxembourg / National Contribution)
There are no survey evidences in Luxembourg regarding the evolution of the place of work. Apart from professions that are by nature practiced outside the employers’ premises (construction, transport,etc) or occupations for which the worker is likely to work sometimes at home (teachers for example), it is difficult to identity the trends clearly. However, some aspects can be pointed out: the rarity of telework, the importance of the assignment accidents (road accidents) and the concern about working conditions in the road transport.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Spain (Spain / National Contribution)
Teleworking practices are not very widely spread amongst Spanish enterprises and workers at present, although the situation has been changing rapidly during the last years. Only 4.1% of the employed population work always at home and additional 3.4% declare to work at home half of the time. A number of sectors seem to be particularly involved in teleworking practices, such as ICT industries or services highly based on ICT use. The main reason for teleworking suggested by these enterprises relate to productivity improvements and the improvement of the employees’ working satisfaction. In this context, some enterprises and also the Government are trying to foster teleworking as a possible tool for fostering work/life balance policies. Interestingly also, Spanish teleworkers are predominantly women, people between 25 and 40 years old, permanent employees and people with a high education level. They also show a high level of satisfaction with their jobs.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Austria (Austria / National Contribution)
In Austria there are no quantitative or qualitative data covering all people working away from the companies’ premises. Therefore this report focuses on surveys and studies concerning certain professions not based within the company (e.g. home care workers, field staff in the insurance sector and teleworking). In general people working away from the company’s premise are subject to two opposing trends: while they have a greater autonomy in determining their work and working time they tend to be controlled and monitored to a broader extend than the usual worker due to the development of information and communication technologies.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Italy (Italy / National Contribution)
Since the 70s, the “place of work” issue is associated with homeworking and replaced by teleworking at end of the 90s. Only recently some attention is paid to “mobile workers”, although restricted to sectoral and H&S issues. The 2002 QWLS allows a more extensive investigation: mobile workers are mainly men, self-employed and working in service industries, showing higher exposure to risk factors, and a worse work-life balance
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Romania (Romania / National Contribution)
National statistics, various studies and research reports or positions expressed by social partners fail to provide rigorous, systematic data related to the workplace characteristics addressed by the present analytical report. Nonetheless, according with available data, recent years have witnessed a growing percentage of people who work in companies with fixed premises and a decrease in the number of people who work at home or the employer/client’s premises.The recent transposition of the acquis communautaire on health and safety in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to a heightened interest in the various aspects of working conditions in the workplace.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Latvia (Latvia / National Contribution)
Working away from the place of work has not been an issue for research and statistics in Latvia, thus there is lack of information about the real situation. The issue also is not widely discussed in society and by trade unions. National employers’ organisation Latvian Employers’ Confederation has raised issue of more flexibility in working conditions and implementation of new forms of employment. The overall economic situation and development of information and communication technologies force to schedule this topic to future debate and research. The legislation does not either obstruct or encourage the further development of the working away from place of work.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Belgium (Belgium / National Contribution)
This report gives insights into the quality of work of people, working most of the time at places other than the company’s premises. What is the ‘effect’ of this other place of work on working conditions? This question is for Belgium surveyed by focusing on 4 types of occupation: teleworkers, construction workers, home carers and temporary agency workers. Although place of work is no important issue of policy debate in Belgian, some important, specific problems can be detected: higher safety risk in construction, labour conditions of (foreign) temporary agency workers, isolation and higher risk of client aggression, commuting problems and longer, irregular working hours.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Bulgaria (Bulgaria / National Contribution)
In Bulgaria quantitative and qualitative information on working away from the place of work is very scarce. The only reliable source of information is a survey commissioned by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MoLSP) in 2005 on quality of life and working conditions. Although according to this survey teleworking has increased during the last decade it is not widespread yet and remains at an early stage of development. Telework is conducted by about 3 % of the working population and is mostly common among self employed women in professions like journalism, architecture or translation.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Malta (Malta / National Contribution)
This report deals with issues relating to the working conditions of workers who have more than one place of work. To date, such topic has not been given adequate attention in policy or research in Malta. However, the incidence of working away from the workplace is probably increasing, especially since the use of broadband internet has grown substantially over the past years.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – UK (United Kingdom / National Contribution)
This record examines the incidence of working away from the normal place of the work in the UK. It finds that this phenomenon is growing, although it is more prevalent in some sectors and areas of the country than others. People who work away from the place of work are covered by the same health and safety legislation as office-based workers, although they are likely to be less aware of their rights than office-based workers. Working away from the place of work offers a range of benefits to the employer, the employee and the environment, although there are a number of potential problems, such as social isolation, that need to be managed effectively.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Lithuania (Lithuania / National Contribution)
In Lithuania, the definition of working away from the workplace is actually not used by the policy making and implementing institutions, social partners or science society. Invoking indirect information sources, we can say that the working conditions of individuals working at premises other than company premises are worse compared to employees working at their permanent workplaces.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Netherlands (Netherlands / National Contribution)
On the basis of national data from the Netherlands information is provided on the percentage of workers that do not actually work at work. In 2004 23% of the Dutch working population performs (part of) his/her paid job at home. Less than 3% of the employees perform most of their activities at home. Tele-working (using an ICT-connection) is not a very widespread phenomenon (4% of the workers), although this figure is increasing. Regarding work organisation, tele-home-workers have the highest autonomy in comparison with the other groups. However, this group - and the group of workers who is home-worker but not a tele-worker - is also confronted with the highest quantitative job demands.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Hungary (Hungary / National Contribution)
With the spreading of IT devices since the beginning of the 1990s, working away from company premises has been spreading in Hungary. This form of employment if most characteristic to the self-employed (entrepreneurs): the proportion of e-workers to employees is 0.9%, while this proportion for self-employed e-workers is 2.1%. Although typically people with higher education degree choose to work at a location other than the company, there is a great proportion of people with secondary education degrees as well among e-workers. Despite the legal regulation of this employment form in place since 2004, there are some problematic issues in connection with e-working, such as supervision of the e-worker. Although e-work has been unequivocally spreading in Hungary, the definition of the notion is still not fully clarified and often it is difficult to decide what is qualified as e-working.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Slovenia (Slovenia / National Contribution)
In Slovenia very few companies have formal arrangements for work at places other than the regular work place. Work at home and telework is performed mostly at the initiative of individual employees and based on agreement between employer and employee. The estimates on the shares of employed persons at least occasionally performing work outside the regular workplace are very likely underestimated, which is especially true for occasional teleworkers. There is very little evidence on working conditions, work organisation, working time and similar issues for persons working away from the company premises.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Czech Republic (Czech Republic / National Contribution)
Working away from company premise is not comprehensively mapped and studied in the Czech Republic.The only area covered in research is work from home, and primarily teleworking. Work away from the employer’s premises is still more the exception. There were 4.6% of men and 4.9% of women working from home in the Czech Republic in 2001.The possibility to combine work in the office with work from home are primarily offered by smaller firms and this form of work organisation is usually the privilege of specialists.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Denmark (Denmark / National Contribution)
In Denmark the overriding themes in relation to place of work is distance work, working at home and the increasing blurring of borders due to ‘limitless’ jobs.According to Labour Force Survey results, working at home increased from 2000 to 2005. This increase is related to the possibility of working at home by the means of information and communications technology (ICT); Apart from categories of workers traditionally working at home sometimes, such as teachers and self-employed, especially professionals also work at home sometimes. Moreover, relatively more men than women work at home. Generally, the place of work does not predetermine the conditions of work. According to the Working Environment Authority, especially lack of clarity in demands and lack of social support is risk factors that may be associated with distance work and working at home. However, there are also indications that working at home in ‘limitless’ jobs may be intrinsically related to working longer hours and having higher stress levels. Nevertheless, distance work and working at home may also function as a way for employees to improve work-life balance and exploit autonomy in the work life.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Estonia (Estonia / National Contribution)
According to Estonian Labour Force Survey 2005 in Estonia 9.4% of the employed worked at home at least part of their working hours in 2005. The proportion of teleworkers is less than 5% according to the Labour Force Survey 2005. Working at home is more popular among self-employed, in the educational sector. Telework is mostly used by men, higher educated managers and professionals. Companies using Telework find teleworking positive to pace of work, quality of work and people doing telework are more satisfied with work-life balance than others. Working conditions and health issues of self-employed have been under discussion recently.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Slovakia (Slovakia / National Contribution)
In the last period there was a noted liberalisation of the entrepreneurial environment and changes in employment types and working condition in the Slovak Republic. Slovaks are not very favourable to flexible forms of part time work, although there has been an increase in the number of employees working outside company premises. Telework, which brings about new attitudes towards working conditions of employees, has started to be used more often. Work outside the company premises has certain impacts upon occupational safety and health, bringing about changes in the organisation of work by companies, as well as at working places at home, contributing to changes in reconciliation of work and family lives. The report mentions these changes in the area of employment and working conditions in the Slovak Republic.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Greece (Greece / National Contribution)
The limited evidence regarding the phenomenon of working away from the place of work implies the respective limited extension of such practices in the Greek labour market, even if all relevant studies predict a high dispersion over the years.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Ireland (Ireland / National Contribution)
The information available on the incidence of workers working away from the place of work is limited. Research in the area has tended to focus on teleworking or home working, but workers from a wide range of occupations work away from the workplace. The most comprehensive study in Ireland on workers working away from the place of work is a report by the Central Statistics Office on teleworking. While a number of undertakings have as employers taken initiatives and the Irish Government has in relation to work-life balance, promoted awareness of the benefits of such policies, surveys suggest that employers have been slow to adopt work life balance policies. The overall conclusion must be that more research, which should be based on a wide ranging definition of working away from the workplace, is needed.
31 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Norway (Norway / National Contribution)
This report examines the incidence of working away from the normal place of the work in Norway. According to the Norwegian survey of working conditions in 2003 13 % of the employees worked away from the company’s premises, 5.2% worked at home in addition to working at their workplace and 1.1 % only worked at home. National surveys show that working away from the usual workplace in general correlates with the quality of life experienced by the employee. At the same time it places higher demands on communication and management structure to manage people at a distance.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Bulgaria (Bulgaria / National Contribution)
This Report intends to investigate the employment and working conditions of migrant workers, that is of persons who migrate from one country to another for any reasons and work as employees or self-employed in the country of destination. Clearly, migrant workers include both EU citizens and non-EU citizens moving from their country of origin to one of the countries covered by this study. In other words, you should consider both migration across EU member states, Bulgaria, Romania and Norway and (im)migration from outside this area. The general objective is to compare the employment and working conditions of non-nationals and nationals
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers - Netherlands (Netherlands / National Contribution)
Abstract: Based on two (longitudinal) studies and the literature it is concluded that illegal migrant workers in the Netherlands constitute about 1% of the legal workforce, and for a large part consist of workers from Middle and Eastern European countries. Among legal migrant workers two groups can be distinguished. First migrant workers with a non- western background (including traditional groups of migrants, such as Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and Antillean persons) and second migrants with a western background. Non-western migrants appear to have less beneficial contractual relations, and working conditions compared to non-migrants. They also report more health related problems, and experience more disputes and discrimination at the workplace. Working conditions of western migrants resemble those of non-migrants closely.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Denmark (Denmark / National Contribution)
Reflecting the national debate, research and policy concerns in Denmark, this report distinguishes between three main categories of ‘migrant workers’: Migrant workers, immigrants and descendants of immigrants.For the past two years, an increasing number of migrant workers from the new EU member states have been issued with work permits in Denmark. Most of these are active in agriculture and in the construction sector. Despite a sharp increase in real numbers, the overall prevalence of these migrant workers is relatively limited. In addition, the prevalence of illegal work of migrant workers appears to be quite stable.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Germany (Germany / National Contribution)
The strict entrance regulations to the German labour market have to be taken into account when considering the employment and working conditions of migrant workers. It is difficult to receive work and residency permits for most migrants in the first place. Generally speaking, the total number of migrants has declined slowly between 2000 and 2004. Most migrants come from Poland (seasonal guest workers), the Russian Federation (ethnic German repatriates) and Turkey (family reunion or second generation). Unemployment rates, educational attainment levels and the occupational field of the different migrant groups vary greatly. However, studies emphasise the rather negative performance of Turkish immigrants in the aforementioned categories compared to migrants with a different ethnical background.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers - Italy (Italy / National Contribution)
This national report intends to investigate the employment and working conditions of migrant workers, that is of persons who migrate from one country to Italy for any reasons and work. Migrant workers include both EU citizens and non-EU citizens moving from their country of origin to Italy.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Lithuania (Lithuania / National Contribution)
In Lithuania, there hardly are any surveys on the working conditions of migrant workers at all. Such a situation is determined by very few analyses of working conditions in Lithuania on the whole and irrelevance of the immigration problem in Lithuania. Yet, very modest available sources lead to a conclusion that employment and working conditions of nationals in Lithuania are somewhat better compared to non-nationals.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Greece (Greece / National Contribution)
In the framework of high rates of undeclared work in Greece for both native and alien workforce, relevant studies on the issue of working conditions and employment of migrants suggest the existence of extensive occupational segregation that deserves increased attention from policy makers and people interested in equality, efficiency and social justice.
31 May 2007: Working and employment conditions of migrant workers — Belgium (Belgium / National Contribution)
In this national contribution questions are answered on the labour market situation of migrants and, whenever data are available, on the working conditions of these workers in Belgium. A selection of statistics is presented and references are made to more qualitative studies.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers - Austria (Austria / National Contribution)
Due to its geographical location Austria has been a main destination for work migration from South-East Europe for years, especially from former Yugoslavia and Turkey. Mainly deployed in sectors and workplaces with low social status, the majority of migrant workers face bad working conditions. In general, this discriminated status has been very stable and is still true for the current situation. Overall, the discrimination migrant workers are exposed to in Austria has largely remained unchanged and is still true/in place at present.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Slovenia (Slovenia / National Contribution)
Migrant workers represent about 5% of active population in Slovenia. The majority of migrant workers are workers from countries of ex-Yugoslavia. They are mostly poorly educated and hold hard, low paid jobs in construction, metal manufacturing and similar sectors. After 2004 the numbers of migrant workers from new EU member states somewhat increased, while numbers of migrant workers from old EU member states and from other countries are very low.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers - Slovak Republic (Slovakia / National Contribution)
Employment and working conditions of migrant workers, is a new phenomenon in Slovakia. However, the migration in and through the country has an increasing tendency. At present, information on this topic is available from researches based on inquiry surveys and conducted at the national level. Some other information is available from statistics of the labour offices and police dealing with foreigners. Employment and working conditions of migrant workers, are regulated by Labour Code. Presently, more and more institutions and NGOs are dealing with the issue.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Portugal (Portugal / National Contribution)
Portugal is one of the OECD countries with the highest growth of the proportion of immigrant workers in the working population between 1995 and 2000. The National Action Plan for Employment 2005-2008 foresees specific lines of intervention aimed at reducing the differences between nationals and non nationals in their labour market integration. Despite some initiatives and projects aiming at adapting the immigrant workers occupational position to their educational level have already been put in place a mismatch between the jobs obtained and their qualifications still persists.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Czech Republic (Czech Republic / National Contribution)
The share of migrants within ekonomic active population in the Czech Republic has been growing continuoustly since 1990.The most frequent nationalities in Czech labour market are Slovak, Ukrainians, Vietnamese and Polish. Basically there are two main groups of migrant workers with different legal conditions. First group consist of the EU/EEA/EFTA citizens who profit from free movement and who have mostly the status of employees. Second group create so called “third country nationals" whose position on labour marker is considerably worse. They are more often selfemployed without employyes compared to first mentioned group.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Cyprus (Cyprus / National Contribution)
This article is Cyprus’s contribution to the comparative analytical report of the European Working Conditions Observatory on the existing situation regarding the working conditions of migrant workers.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — the United Kingdom (United Kingdom / National Contribution)
This record examines the incidence and situation of migrant workers in the UK It finds that the migrant population has risen sharply since the mid-1990s to around 1.5 million and illegal immigration is currently estimated at around 430,000. Different foreign groups have different roles in the labour market. Skills shortages are filled by migrants, and there are different routes of entry linked to specific policies to attract migrants. Most employers employ migrant workers directly although the level of workers employed on a temporary or permanent basis varies from occupation group to group. The nationality of migrant workers is less important than sector, occupation, skill levels and entry route in exploring migrants’ contractual relations, but a significant number of migrant workers earn less than comparable domestic employees. The TUC and many affiliates have increasingly engaged in trying to ensure equal treatment for migrant workers. The government plans to introduce a points system for selective migration in 2008 and recently launched a much-welcomed consultation exercise on the role of a planned Migration Advisory Committee.
31 May 2007: Working and employment conditions of migrant workers – Sweden (Sweden / National Contribution)
The Swedish contribution to the comparative analytical report on migrant workers shows that migrant workers in Sweden are over represented among atypical work contracts and low-paid jobs. When compared with native Swedes, migrant workers more often have temporary employments, have fewer possibilities to find work that matches their level of formal education and have higher unemployment and lower salaries. Especially foreign-born from Asia and Africa are over-represented in the unemployment statistics and low-status occupations, however, Asians are also over-represented among self-employed. On a positive note there are no considerable differences in working time or sick leave between migrant workers and native Swedes. Also, there are some indications that foreign-born employees tend to express stress and psychological pressure as being less of a problem than native employees, though exposure to strenuous working postures is reported as a greater problem.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Romania (Romania / National Contribution)
Examination of the table on international migration points to Romania as a country of emigration. The reason is because the wage level in Romania is less attractive to immigrants. The relatively high number of work force which has emigrated from Romania to other European labour markets has already resulted in a domestic shortage of workers in various trades and occupations (constructions, health, education, etc). As a result of the wage trend and the desire to access labour markets in EU countries, Romania’s EU accession as of 1 January 2007, might step up immigration pressure although efforts are being made (with the support of EU countries) to tighten border security.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Poland (Poland / National Contribution)
The issue of immigration is a relatively new, thus still quite superficially recognized, phenomenon in Poland. However, the role of foreigners in national labour market has been gaining importance. The migrant labour market has become dual, split between a small share of officially employed foreigners and majority of illegal alien workers. Thus assessing scale and extent of migrant labour in domestic economy – not to mention their working conditions – is difficult.
31 May 2007: Working and employment conditions of migrant workers – Malta (Malta / National Contribution)
Studies regarding the working conditions of migrant workers in Malta are very limited since up to a few years ago Malta was still a country of emigration. The local debate about migrant workers tends to focus on illegal immigrants, an issue which is increasing in importance. Till October 2006, there were a total of 6,263 migrant workers, who are over represented in specific sectors and occupations for various reasons. While migrant workers officially have the same rights and working conditions as nationals, many of them tend to occupy low level jobs.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Latvia (Latvia / National Contribution)
The notion “migrant workers” is sensitive in Latvia and rarely used. Immigration policy refers to foreigners – people who have arrived in Latvia and are not the resident population (regardless citizens or non-citizens). Thus handled, immigration is not significant, foreigners arrive in Latvia for job on the basis of special invitation and they are subjected to the general labour legislation equally with resident workers. Working conditions specifically of immigrants are not reported, analysed and discussed. However, due to unfavourable demographic situation, immigration is considered as a solution for harmonisation problems resulting from the demographic crisis, and working conditions of immigrants may appear on agenda after some years.
31 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers — Estonia (Estonia / National Contribution)
There is very little evidence in Estonia on migrant workers. The main information in this report concerns non-Estonians, half of who has been born in Estonia and many of whom have also Estonian citizenship. Thus, the report concerns working conditions of both first and second generation migrants. Non-Estonians have higher unemployment rate, they have lower education, they are concentrated more on unskilled jobs, but the educational and occupational segregation is weakening. Non-Estonians tend to work more on unsocial hours, shift-work and on fix-term contracts but less part-time. The trade union membership is higher among non-nationals. Language skills and citizenship are being regarded as one of main reasons for differences in employment conditions and position of non-Estonians.
30 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers – Spain (Spain / National Contribution)
Spain has traditionally been known as a country of emigrants. However, in the last decade, the country has experienced an unprecedented boom of immigration inflow.. In this way, immigrant population has risen from 1.37% of the total population in 1996 to 8.75% at the beginning of 2006. Economic reasons are the main driver for the immigration process, resulting in a higher activity rates than nationals and thus a higher proportion of foreign working people (10.4% of total employed population in 2005). Sectors with the higher internal percentage of foreign workers include construction and agriculture, an also personal services, hotels and restaurant shave a significant presence. However, foreign workers have jobs of a worse quality than nationals (longer hours, lower wages, etc.) and they are in general less satisfied with their jobs than average. A problem of overeducation for the occupations held is rather widespread. On the other hand, illegal immigration is closely linked to work in the underground economy, with even worse working conditions.
29 May 2007: Employment and working conditions of migrant workers – Finland (Finland / National Contribution)
Finland has traditionally been a country of emigration. Latest wave of emigration was to Sweden starting in 50’s and diminishing in 70’s. Today the immigrant population is growing slowly but constantly in Finland. Statistical portrait on foreigners and international immigration can be drawn from the population statistics. Analysis on working conditions of immigrants based on the general working conditions surveys is still limited due to small number of respondents with immigrant background in the data. However, some studies on living conditions of immigrants include also questions concerning their working conditions and position in the labour market. The vast majority of responses in this report is based on the results of these immigrants’ living conditions surveys.
21 May 2007: Flexibility in working time and place of work (Estonia / Information update)
A study on the labour market indicates that full-time work is the norm for people in Estonia, with fixed working times and permanent employment contracts. Working time flexibility is less common, and is the result of a one-to-one agreement between employees and managers, allowing for days or hours to be taken off when necessary.
21 May 2007: Impact of time pressure on lifestyle (Belgium / Information update)
Having to combine a paid job with rearing children, keeping up with hobbies and coping with domestic tasks can result in many people feeling frustrated due to a lack of time. Being too busy to do things well can also give rise to a sense of dissatisfaction. A research study has investigated job-related and other factors that cause people to experience time pressure. One of its conclusions is that professional and managerial staff experience greater feelings of time pressure than other occupational groups.
21 May 2007: Changing profile of working time flexibility (Italy / Information update)
The second ad hoc Labour Force Survey module on atypical labour contracts and working time, carried out in 2004, reveals significant changes in the take-up of flexibility options. A previously widespread use of overtime has been replaced by part-time contracts and working time flexibility. It is mainly women who avail of part-time work, although in general part-time work is less prevalent in Italy than in the EU in general. With regard to working time flexibility, workers still have little control over their working time arrangements. These changes seem to be more influenced by the 1997 labour market reform and stagnant economic performance than by the 2003 labour market reform.
21 May 2007: Industrial workers most exposed to job strain (France / Information update)
Analysis of the 2003 SUMER survey results reveals five groups of workers who are exposed to risks at work. These risks relate to work-related stress and strain, in line with the ‘Karasek model’. The results indicate that the group of workers most at risk of job strain are those working in industry. Conversely, white-collar workers are the least at risk of job strain among the five groups identified.
21 May 2007: New code of practice to prevent workplace bullying (Ireland / Information update)
With the incidence of workplace bullying on the increase in Ireland, the Irish government launched a new code of practice on workplace bullying on 4 April 2007. The new code of practice, drawn up by the Health and Safety Authority, provides for the referral of bullying cases to external mediation in the event that internal procedures fail to resolve matters.
21 May 2007: Motivating people to work beyond retirement age (Sweden / Information update)
Debate is ongoing in Sweden about the future labour shortage and the need for employees of retirement age to work longer. A study conducted by the National Institute of Working Life in 2005 reveals that the two most important aspects determining people’s inclination to work longer are motivation and work environment conditions.
21 May 2007: Monitoring chemical risks in the working environment (Slovakia / Information update)
Where employees perform activities which could jeopardise their health due to exposure to chemical substances, employers are obliged by law to implement technical, organisational and other measures which effectively eliminate exposure or at the very least reduce exposure to the lowest possible level. Employers’ obligations in this regard are monitored by the authorities responsible for health protection in cooperation with the authorities of labour inspection.
21 May 2007: Trend towards narrowing of gender pay gap (Bulgaria / Information update)
In 2007, the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research (ISTUR) presented its annual report on wage developments. The survey monitors the most significant changes in wage developments as part of the social partners’ negotiations on income policy (BG0607029I).
21 May 2007: Low-wage labour artificially boosts economy (Cyprus / Information update)
In late March 2007, the Cyprus Labour Institute presented the main conclusions of the ‘Annual economic and employment outlook’ for 2006. The main objective of the report is to set out recommendations concerning the continued rapid growth of the Cyprus economy as well as social development. The report argues that technological and organisational modernisation of the production system has to become a priority to offset the currently high demand for cheap labour.
21 May 2007: Older workers view youth as a labour market asset (Czech Republic / Information update)
The majority of Czech workers are not concerned about losing their current job. However, if they were forced to look for a new job, a significant proportion of people believe that it would be more difficult for them to find a job equally as good as their present post. These are among the findings of a study conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre of the Institute of Sociology in 2006.
16 May 2007: Place of work and working conditions – Poland (Poland / National Contribution)
The Labour Code discerns four types of employment contract: employment contract for a trial period, fixed term employment contract, employment contract for performance of specific work, and indefinite term employment contract. The Labour Code’s provision where under a task-based working time system may be adopted where circumstances warrant may be regarded - with a good dose of reserve - as a semblance of regulation of work performed away from company premises. In the task-based system, the employer may consult with the employee in defining the time necessary for performance of the tasks entrusted to her/him, with due regard for the general working week norms (35 hours per week for disabled employees working full time, 40 hours per week for full-time employees not afflicted by disabilities).
14 May 2007: Women in unfavourable position in labour market (Hungary / Information update)
A 2006 study examines the labour market position of women in Hungary between 2000 and 2004. The study shows that, compared with the EU average, the female employment level in Hungary remains static and the unemployment rate is on the increase. Despite legal regulations to combat discrimination on any grounds, women were more disadvantaged than men when entering or re-entering the labour market with respect to pay and career prospects.
14 May 2007: Good employers value their employees highly (Hungary / Information update)
The human resources company Hewitt Associates carried out a survey in 2006 to find the best companies to work for in Hungary. The survey covered 23,858 employees in 123 companies in Hungary. It found that the best employers treat their employees as a valuable resource. The survey also examined employees’ satisfaction with their pay in relation to their performance, in addition to touching on the issue of work–life balance.
14 May 2007: Plan to upgrade skills levels of workers by 2020 (Ireland / Information update)
Ireland’s Expert Group on Future Skills Needs unveiled an ambitious plan in March 2007 to raise the skill levels of over half a million people during the next 10 years. The Expert Skills Group has warned that the skill levels of the labour force need to be enhanced if social and economic progress is to be maintained in relation to competitor economies.
14 May 2007: Low participation of women in the labour market (Cyprus / Information update)
In 2006, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies produced a shadow report to the Cypriot government report for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The report’s basic findings cover the labour force participation rate of women, gender pay issues and the unemployment rate among women, and include some measures proposed for dealing with these matters.
14 May 2007: Increase in levels of stress at work (Denmark / Information update)
In Denmark, the topic of stress is at present high on the public agenda and numerous surveys present divergent findings in relation to stress levels among the population. Researchers from the National Research Centre for the Working Environment have expressed concern that the current preoccupation with stress may lead survey respondents to report being stressed even though they may not actually be so. Nevertheless, it remains clear that work-related stress levels have increased and that women are relatively more exposed to stress than men.
07 May 2007: Better exchange of information needed in multicultural workplaces (Finland / Information update)
During the last couple of decades, Finland has been transformed from a country of emigration to one of immigration, even though the proportion of immigrants is still very low in the population, at 2.2%. Nevertheless, more Finnish employees now have colleagues with an immigrant background. A recent study on multicultural workplaces shows that the situations of immigrant and Finnish employees are similar to a certain extent. However, there are clear differences in relation to some employment aspects.
07 May 2007: Training in information technology for older workers (Luxembourg / Information update)
Luxembourg, like most European countries, has taken measures to encourage older workers to stay longer in the workforce. Beyond the initiatives undertaken by the authorities, companies have been encouraged to provide training and development in certain fields where older workers could feel excluded. One of these areas includes access to and use of new information and communication technologies (ICT), which have developed at a rapid pace within companies in recent years. A survey carried out among companies in 2005 investigated company practices in relation to ICT training and examined the extent to which age was taken into account by the organisations that provided such training.
07 May 2007: Increase in flexible forms of work (Slovenia / Information update)
The most frequently used flexible forms of work in Slovenian companies in 2004 were fixed-term employment, overtime, shift work and weekend work. These forms of work were not only used by the large majority of organisations but also affected a high proportion of employees in those enterprises. The least frequently used flexible forms of work were home-based work, telework, a condensed working week, contracts based on annual working hours and job sharing.
07 May 2007: Organisational strategies for active ageing (Belgium / Information update)
In 2006, the University of Hasselt launched a research project on active ageing, aimed at promoting age-related human resource management strategies within Belgian companies. The research findings indicate that, when companies initiate change, attention is not only paid to the content of such change, but also to the process and the meaning behind it. Much emphasis is also placed on involving all of the parties within an organisation in the change process. Moreover, the organisation endeavours to stimulate the professional development of all employees in order to create favourable conditions for an active ageing of the workforce.
07 May 2007: HR management tools to deal with the ageing of the workforce (Germany / Information update)
A study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research presents a holistic human resource management approach to tackle the challenges arising from demographic change. The study finds that such management approaches are more prevalent in large companies.
07 May 2007: Sustained growth in salary levels over generations (Spain / Information update)
A recent report from the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs shows a sustained growth in the average salary levels over employees’ working lives. Moreover, each generation has improved its salary levels in comparison with previous cohorts, although this improvement has slowed down among the youngest generations. On average, women always earn lower salaries than men, irrespective of generation. Furthermore, the salary inequalities between men and women increase with age, and this result is also apparent for all generations.
27 April 2007: Health and safety at work in Greece (Greece / Survey data report [ or view as size 176 kb])
The findings of a 2005 study by the Labour Institute (INE) of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY) reveal significant problems in Greece as regards the implementation of legislation on health and safety at work. Risk prevention measures and safety and health practices are being ignored, while levels of monitoring are also inadequate. Moreover, many workers and managers are unaware of the relevant legislation, which is outdated and excessively complex in many cases. Infringement of normal working hours and illegal and/or legal overtime, as well as tight deadlines, have increased the levels of accidents in the workplace in recent years. The report recommends financial incentives and penalties, in addition to awareness-raising campaigns, to ensure greater compliance with health and safety legislation.
27 April 2007: High incidence of long working hours (Romania / Information update)
The Household Labour Force Survey for 2005 reveals that, in the case of 41% of employees, the actual length of the working week was not fixed. Approximately 59.8% of employees work more than 45 hours a week. The variable and extra working hours differ depending on sector of the economy, occupation, area of residence and sex.
27 April 2007: Occupational (dis-)continuity of graduate nursing staff (Austria / Information update)
According to a recently completed study, graduate nurses often change jobs, either within the organisation they work for or between organisations. The reasons for these frequent job changes can be found in the specific working conditions structuring the healthcare sector. Career breaks in the female dominated healthcare sector are mainly due to child care responsibilities.
27 April 2007: Working conditions in home care work (Belgium / Information update)
The EU-funded research project, ‘Proxima’, provides a valuable insight into the well-being and quality of work of home care workers in Belgium. According to the study, a high proportion of home care workers report low job recognition (33%), lack of social support (64%), back problems (47%) and low remuneration (46%). Strategies to improve the quality of work in the sector relate to areas such as active ageing, risk prevention, balancing the division of work, forms of direct participation in the job and communication channels.
27 April 2007: Gender differences in reasons for working from home (Czech Republic / Information update)
The findings of the 2005 ‘Generations and gender survey’ reveal that women in the Czech Republic opt to work from home for different reasons than men do. Differences between both sexes also emerge when taking into account the life cycle and career. Men usually work from home at an older age and later stage of their career while women make use of this form of work throughout their entire working life, with a slight increase in such activity among women in the 35–44 years age group. Moreover, it appears that the presence of a dependent child in the household is a trigger for women to work from home.
27 April 2007: Overall increase in working time but workers work fewer than average hours (Denmark / Information update)
As part of the wider public debate on stress and work–life balance issues, working time is a topic of growing interest in Denmark. According to different calculation methods on comparative data on working time, it appears that Danish citizens are among those working both the most and the least hours in Europe. On the one hand, Danish employees have a relatively short annual working time. On the other hand, due to a generally high labour market participation rate and a very high female participation rate, the total Danish population spends more hours working than the EU15 average. The social partners and policymakers disagree on which of these two calculation methods should be applied.
27 April 2007: More people working and fewer accidents at work (Poland / Information update)
The Polish Ministry of the Economy has published a report setting out data concerning economic activity and inactivity, job security and the social insurance system. It shows that the situation continues to improve with regard to combating unemployment, and it also examines the incidence of accidents in the workplace and resulting compensation claims. However, the continuing emigration of young, well-educated workers and the low average retirement age remain of particular concern.
23 April 2007: Assessment of working conditions at construction and building sites (Slovakia / Information update)
In Slovakia, working conditions in the construction sector are associated with higher risk to the lives and health of employees. The most common hazard for workers in this sector is in the area of mechanical operations. However, workers are also at risk due to improper installation and handling of electrical equipment or the use of building chemicals.
23 April 2007: Factors influencing type of employment contract (Luxembourg / Information update)
The Living in Luxembourg socioeconomic panel survey, which is carried out annually on a representative sample of residents in Luxembourg, identifies the links between the type of employment contract (open-ended or fixed-term) and factors such as age, professional experience, educational background, economic sector and size of company. Although, in overall terms, most workers resident in Luxembourg are on open-ended contracts, there is considerable variation regarding access to the two types of contract.
23 April 2007: Impact of legislation on labour market flexibility and job security (Portugal / Information update)
A high degree of protection of permanent employment contracts and strong disincentives to move from unemployment into active employment are the two main factors negatively influencing labour market flexibility in Portugal.
16 April 2007: Time use survey highlights changing working conditions (Latvia / Survey data report [ or view as size 358 kb])
The latest population time use survey indicates changes in the profile of time use in Latvia in 2003, compared with 1996. In 2003, all workers used a greater part of the total weekly time budget (168 hours) for personal care and sleep; however, men spent a greater part of the total time in paid work. Moreover, there was an increase in travel or commuting time. The survey also shows differences in time use between those in paid employment and others, according to sex and geographical location. Time use surveys are primarily a quality of life indicator, but they also contain useful data regarding working conditions.
16 April 2007: Impact of immigration on wage levels of Cypriot workers (Cyprus / Information update)
In 2006, the Economics Research Centre of the University of Cyprus carried out research which investigated the impact of immigration on the wages of Cypriot workers. It found that the employment of foreign workers affected the wages of national workers depending on the latter workers’ level of education: the more skilled and educated Cypriot workers were, the more they benefited financially from the presence of foreign workers. Conversely, the less skilled and educated the national workers were, the more negative the financial impact of immigration.
16 April 2007: Increase in work demands and exposure to loud noise (Denmark / Information update)
The results of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study 2005 (DWECS), published in December 2006, reveal significant increases in demands at work and in exposure to loud noise at the workplace. On the other hand, DWECS also shows significant improvements in employees’ work–life balance and in social support from superiors. Moreover, employees had a more positive outlook on future job prospects in 2005 than in 2000. These conflicting results have caused some debate among the social partners.
16 April 2007: Employees optimistic about future employment prospects (Finland / Information update)
According to the Working Life Barometer 2006, Finnish employees are optimistic about their future employment prospects. The overall employment situation and the economic situation of individual companies are viewed in a more positive light in 2006 than in the previous year. However, the employees’ overall perception of the significance of their work has remained negative since 2000. In particular, relationships between management and workers seem to have deteriorated. Notable differences between the sectors have also remained as employees in the local government sector face particularly difficult working conditions.
16 April 2007: Unpaid work prevalent in agricultural sector (Romania / Information update)
Unpaid work is mainly found in subsistence agriculture in Romania. In 2005, 97.5% of unpaid family workers worked in agriculture, while the remaining 2.5% worked either in commerce (1.3%) or other sectors (1.2%). Distribution of workers by sex indicates a higher percentage of women among unpaid family workers, at 72.3%, while distribution by area reveals a higher density of such workers in rural areas, at 94%.
12 April 2007: Satisfaction levels high despite stress at work (Luxembourg / Information update)
Most employees appear to be satisfied with their working conditions, with certain variations according to the characteristics of the work and the worker, according to the most recent Living in Luxembourg socioeconomic panel survey. However, one in three workers report that they frequently feel stressed at work.
04 April 2007: Workers in Veneto region less exposed to risk factors but work is more repetitive (Italy / Information update)
According to a pilot study on occupational health and safety, workers in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy report less exposure to risk factors and work-related illnesses than the European average. However, they perform repetitive tasks and work long hours more frequently than average. Moreover, absenteeism is significantly higher than the average in Europe.
04 April 2007: Widening of the gender pay gap (Estonia / Information update)
In 2005, the gender pay gap in Estonia was 25.4%, which represents the biggest difference in earnings between men and women in the last six years. It is not yet clear if this situation indicates a new trend or just a temporary fluctuation. Segregation of the sexes in respect of working time, sector and occupation explains much of the pay gap, while age and education also have an impact on the wage differences.
04 April 2007: Differences in working conditions between migrant and native workers (Netherlands / Information update)
In general, migrant workers experience poorer quality of work and lower level of health than their Dutch counterparts. Examining the situation for the first and second generation of migrant workers indicates that the first generation fares worst, while the second generation experiences a quality of work and health that is comparable to that of Dutch workers. However, an exception arises in relation to violence and harassment in the workplace, which is still experienced to a significant degree by second generation migrant workers.
04 April 2007: Factors behind low take-up of parental leave (Romania / Information update)
The study entitled ‘Women and men in Romania: Reconciling work and family life’, published by the National Institute of Statistics in 2006, indicates that only 17% of people entitled to parental leave in Romania took advantage of it. The reasons for the low take-up vary according to sex and level of education.
23 March 2007: Workers on low incomes disadvantaged in terms of job quality (Czech Republic / Information update)
Labour market marginalisation as a result of low incomes and poor job quality is becoming a serious problem in the Czech Republic. This is in spite of the fact that the proportion of people who fall into the category of the ‘working poor’ is relatively low. These are among the findings of a research project entitled ‘Social exclusion and social policies’, which was conducted in 2004–2005 and which examines the job quality of people on low incomes.
23 March 2007: Integrating health and safety into education and training (Bulgaria / Information update)
During the European week for safety and health at work in October 2006, the Bulgarian government hosted a national conference on the occupational safety and health of young people in the country’s capital city, Sofia. The conference was part of the European health and safety campaign ‘Safe start’, which was dedicated to ensuring young people a safe and healthy start in their working lives. The emphasis was on the need to teach young people about health and safety at work and to foster a culture of risk prevention.
23 March 2007: New work safety code supports return to work after illness or accident (Ireland / Information update)
In 2006, the Workplace Safety Initiative Group, which comprises several employer organisations and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, launched a new safety code for Irish workplaces. The new Workplace Safety Code is supported by several state bodies, including the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Irish employment agency FÁS, the Health and Safety Authority and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. The purpose of this code is threefold: namely, to prevent accidents at the workplace; to intervene immediately when accidents occur; and to provide any necessary follow-up treatment and support to those affected by occupational accidents or diseases. The latter measure aims to allow the affected employee to return to work in as short a time as possible.
23 March 2007: Fewer women than men hold senior positions in the workplace (Luxembourg / Information update)
Gender segregation in the labour market arises where there is a strong concentration of one gender in certain domains of the labour market. A recent study has analysed the degree of horizontal and vertical segregation among the working population residing in Luxembourg. The results show that women are mainly employed in the sectors of domestic household services, health and social work, education and real estate. They are also predominant in the categories of workers and employees without qualificatiosn, representing 66% of such workers. The study’s findings suggest that the probability for men living in Luxembourg to hold a senior position is twice as high as for women.
23 March 2007: More work and less control over pace of work (Sweden / Information update)
The latest Work Environment Survey conducted in 2005 reveals some changes in the psychosocial work environment experienced by employees. These changes include an increasing workload, less control over work pace and a lack of support from managers and work colleagues. Although the negative changes are statistically significant, the overall disimprovement in the work environment is not substantial.
14 March 2007: Decrease in health risks and accidents at the workplace (Poland / Survey data report [ or view as size 191 kb])
Risks to health in the workplace and occupational accidents and diseases have declined significantly in Poland in the 15 years from 1991 to 2005. Nevertheless, there are still a number of risk factors prevailing, with certain sectors being particularly vulnerable. At least 12% of the workforce is working under hazardous conditions and the total is probably even higher, as no data are available for privately owned farms and for enterprises with fewer than 10 employees: these are thought to be among the high risk categories. Due to the surplus of labour supply available, some employers put a high priority on competitiveness and disregard the issue of safety. However, there are signs that this situation is changing, at least in some sectors. The Central Statistical Office survey for 2005 also gathered data on risk prevention.
14 March 2007: Overall boost in employment levels (Romania / Information update)
The annual activity report of the National Employment Agency for 2005 indicated that the global objective of increasing the number of employed persons was exceeded. This was despite the fact that the targets set in terms of filling job vacancies were not reached in any single month. Moreover, the expenditure for active employment measures amounted to only 58% of the figure set by the national action plan for employment.
14 March 2007: Increasing reliance on older workers in the labour market (Hungary / Information update)
A declining youth population in the future will mean that people will have to work for longer. This will shift the policy focus on increasing the employment of older workers, who are currently present in low numbers in Hungary’s labour market. A survey carried out among companies with more than 50 employees examined the opportunities of employees aged over 45 years and the degree to which companies utilise the experience of older colleagues.
14 March 2007: Impact of job control and demands on temporary and permanent workers (Belgium / Information update)
A recent Belgian study explored the role of autonomy and workload in relation to job satisfaction, organisational commitment and life satisfaction. Based on an analysis of the responses of temporary and permanent employees, the study found that there was a difference in the views of temporary and permanent employees to the issues of autonomy and workload. It appears that, when it comes to job satisfaction and organisational commitment among temporary workers, autonomy is not an influencing factor. Moreover, with regard to their life satisfaction, workload is not a determining element. However, for permanent employees, the opposite was shown to be true.
14 March 2007: Towards gender equality in information technology jobs (Malta / Information update)
In late 2005, the Employment and Training Corporation published a report on the employment of men and women in information technology occupations. Based on interviews and case studies, the research looked at several gender-friendly practices carried out in private and public sector organisations in areas such as recruitment, training, promotions and working conditions. The report identifies some barriers that explain the relatively low proportion of women participating in IT jobs.
14 March 2007: Workplace safety still an issue in agriculture (Poland / Information update)
Agriculture is considered to be one of the most unsafe sectors of Poland’s economy. Despite improvements in recent years, the level of occupational accidents on farms is considerably higher than in other sectors of the economy. Moreover, a large number of minors continue to work in this hazardous working environment.
13 March 2007: Overall increase in wages but women still earn less than men (Cyprus / Survey data report [ or view as size 285 kb])
This report analyses the main results from national labour statistics for 2004 and from a survey conducted by the Cyprus Labour Institute (INEK) in 2005. Labour statistics 2004 outlines the general situation of workers and the workplace in Cyprus, and covers topics such as pay rates, working hours and occupational accidents. The study finds a persistent gender pay gap in the Cypriot labour market. The INEK survey examines job insecurity among young people and offers policy recommendations aimed at improving their situation.
13 March 2007: Survey highlights rise in psychosocial demands at work (Denmark / Survey data report [ or view as size 369 kb])
The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, formerly the National Institute of Occupational Health, has conducted the fourth Danish Work Environment Cohort Study (DWECS) covering the five-year period 2000–2005. The 2005 results indicate no clear trend of overall better or worse conditions for workers. Nevertheless, an increase in psychosocial demands at the workplace has been identified, such as a high pace of work, a demanding workload and emotional demands. Conversely, the study also reveals increases in decision latitude, better future prospects in the job and more support for workers from superiors. However, considerable differences among workers persist in relation to jobs, sectors and gender.
02 March 2007: Work and employment in the creative industries (Austria / Information update)
Between July 2004 and January 2007, Joanneum Research and FORBA carried out a research project focusing on work and employment in selected subsectors of the ‘creative industries’ in the capital city, Vienna. The five subsectors examined were advertising, architecture, design (graphic, product and fashion), film, radio and video, and multimedia. As part of the project, a quantitative survey was carried out among 910 workers in Vienna’s creative industries.
02 March 2007: Participation in adult education (Lithuania / Information update)
In 2005, a representative survey carried out at the request of the Ministry of Education revealed that one in four inhabitants of Lithuania improved their qualifications by participating in informal adult training programmes. About a fifth of the population stated that they were not involved in active learning, but that they would like to pursue such programmes. The survey was conducted by the Market Analysis and Research Group RAIT.
02 March 2007: Monitoring working conditions of long-distance drivers (Slovakia / Information update)
Road transport is one of the most dangerous sectors in terms of health risks to employees. The risk of an accident is high, due to long-distance drivers failing to respect rest periods and succumbing to exhaustion as a result of monotonous driving, too much time spent behind the wheel or lapses in concentration. Since 2004, road transport is regulated by Act No. 121/2004 Coll. on driving hours and rest periods, which covers drivers employed by transport companies, self-employed drivers as well as drivers of vehicles registered abroad who travel within Slovakia on international journeys. Monitoring adherence to this act falls within the responsibility of the National Labour Inspectorate.
19 February 2007: Occupational mobility on the increase (France / Information update)
In December 2006, the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) published an analysis of its surveys on education and professional qualification, focusing on occupational mobility among workers aged between 30 and 54 years. The analysis found that the occupational mobility of workers is most pronounced among those aged between 30 and 34 years, which partially reflects a compensation for the relegation of young workers in the first year of their careers. The upward mobility observed mainly concerns men and low-skilled workers, while downward mobility, which was almost non-existent in the 1980s, has become a more significant phenomenon among higher skilled workers and women since the end of the 1990s.
19 February 2007: EU employment report puts the spotlight on ‘flexicurity’ (EU Level / Information update)
As well as providing an annual review of labour market developments, the ‘Employment in Europe 2006’ report, published in October 2006, looks in detail at the topical social policy issue of flexicurity’. The report examines how some national labour markets are combining flexible contractual employment arrangements with the provision of improved security for employees through lifelong learning, active labour market policies and high levels of social protection.
19 February 2007: Marginalised status of illegal migrant workers from eastern Europe (Belgium / Information update)
Based on intensive qualitative research, a doctoral thesis examines the working and living conditions of Polish and Bulgarian migrants residing illegally in Brussels. The author shows that economic migration creates a marginalised labour force – but not an impoverished underclass – of eastern Europeans in the capital city of Belgium.
19 February 2007: Immigrants benefit economy but experience poor working conditions (Spain / Information update)
Substantial immigration inflow is one of the most significant changes that has taken place in Spanish society in the last two decades, and this situation is also having positive effects on the country’s economy. However, immigrants tend to occupy poor quality jobs, mainly characterised by low qualification requirements, low wages, substandard working conditions and of a temporary or seasonal nature.
19 February 2007: Wage disparities between men and women, regions and occupations (Spain / Information update)
The composition of the labour market determines the wage structure of the Spanish economy. In December 2006, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics published the ‘Annual wage structure survey 2004’, which estimated the average annual wage of a Spanish worker at €18,182 for that year. However, considerable wage differences persist within the labour market. This is related to several variables; for instance, permanent employment contracts, full-time jobs, higher qualified occupations and adult wage-earners are better paid than other workers. From a gender perspective, it must be highlighted that women’s salaries in all sectors are usually much lower than those of their male counterparts.
19 February 2007: Factors triggering wage growth (Latvia / Information update)
A government commissioned study into wages in Latvia, ‘Wages and factors influencing them’, was published in October 2006. The report found that wage increases are affected by factors related to the individual, such as the worker’s education, sex, age, Latvian language ability, working time, as well as duration and type of employment contract. Further factors come into play at company level, such as the size and the economic situation of the company as well as the sector and region in which the company operates. The extensive study analyses wage models, the nature of bonuses and responsiveness to bonuses, the role of the social partners in wage issues, in addition to negative aspects relating to wages – the shadow economy, ‘envelope’ wages and other issues.
19 February 2007: New strategy to integrate disabled people into employment (Norway / Information update)
The national mainstream employment support programme – Arbeid med bistand (AB) – provides support for the inclusion of disabled job seekers in the general labour market. An evaluation of the AB programme in 2003 found that the successful integration of disabled workers in the labour market relies on the ability of the vocational rehabilitation staff to cater for participants’ needs with a view to assisting them in finding and keeping a job.
12 February 2007: High levels of stress among sales workers and cashiers (Cyprus / Information update)
In July 2006, the Cyprus Workers’ Confederation (SEK) published a study on the subject of workplace health and safety, and the balance that women manage to achieve between family and working life. The study focused on women who are employed as sales workers, cashiers or clerks. Overall, one third of the women surveyed were not familiar with health and safety legislation, although an increased proportion of the women were aware of legislation regarding pregnancy and maternity leave. Significant obstacles remain in relation to reconciling work and family life.
12 February 2007: Gender pay gap wider for better educated women (Italy / Information update)
The new Isfol survey ‘Plus – Participation, labour, unemployment survey’ is carried out on an annual basis in order to follow developments in the Italian labour market. According to the 2005 report, the gender pay gap is wider for better educated women and increases with length of service. Personal characteristics explain just one third of the pay gap, with the remainder being attributed to discrimination.
12 February 2007: Older employees cite stress and fatigue as biggest problems at work (Lithuania / Information update)
In 2005, a survey was carried out on the status of employees approaching retirement in Lithuanian companies. The key objective was to increase labour market accessibility for pre-pension individuals in the Utena and Vilnius counties of eastern Lithuania, and to combat any discrimination towards them at work. The survey results showed that pre-pension employees were adequately integrated within the staff community, competent in their professional spheres and interested in improving their qualifications.
12 February 2007: Low level of compliance with screen safety regulations (Slovakia / Information update)
In 2005, the National Labour Inspectorate carried out a nationwide survey to investigate compliance with regulations on the use of visual display units in the workplace and provide guidelines in relation to this. The results have since been published and reveal an unsatisfactory level of compliance with the minimum safety and health requirements for work with computer screens, despite significant efforts to improve health and safety in this area.
12 February 2007: Unfair treatment and discrimination at work (United Kingdom / Information update)
The Department of Trade and Industry recently published an analysis of how employees are treated at work. Most employees did not believe that they or others had encountered unfair treatment, but those that did generally considered this to be discrimination.
05 February 2007: Employment rates of women and men with children (Finland / Information update)
Employment rates declined in Finland during the recession in the early 1990s. In recent years, the employment rate of fathers has almost returned to the level of the 1980s whereas mothers’ employment rates have not risen equally, according to the study ‘Mothers and fathers in the labour market 1989-2002/2003’. During the recession, mothers increasingly took advantage of home care leave, which allows the parent to stay at home until the child is three years old. This has been reflected in women’s lower employment rate since unlike the situation for parental leave, parents on home care leave are not counted as part of the labour force.
05 February 2007: Work accidents and diseases continue to decline (Germany / Information update)
The recently published annual report on health and safety at work reveals that both the number of accidents at work and the prevalence of occupational diseases have continued to decline. Whereas the total expenditure on accident insurance has remained relatively constant, the amount spent on accident prevention measures has increased steadily over the years.
05 February 2007: Impact on economy of high number of foreign workers (Cyprus / Information update)
In December 2005, the Economics Research Centre at the University of Cyprus published a research paper on the ‘Economic Implications of Foreign Workers in Cyprus’. The paper examines the factors contributing to the increased employment of foreign workers in the Cypriot labour market, and the impact on the total domestic output of the economy and also on the output of individual sectors of activity.
05 February 2007: Impact of economic situation on employment prospects of young people (France / Information update)
Data collected since the 1970s on employment rates and employment conditions – such as wages, job–skills match and type of contract – reveal that economic fluctuations have negatively affected young workers more than other workers. Furthermore, beyond these fluctuations, a significant change has taken place over the 30-year period: young workers, but also newly recruited workers of any age, are increasingly being hired on more precarious employment contracts, such as temporary, part-time or fixed-term contracts. In all, only a quarter of these workers progress to a more stable work status, namely towards permanent full-time employment.
05 February 2007: Improving the employment integration of migrant workers (Portugal / Information update)
The mobility of migrant workers in companies can be related to career progression, but it is also influenced by high rates of staff turnover. Research into the occupational mobility of migrant workers reveals that a mismatch persists between the jobs obtained by these workers in the Portuguese labour market and the workers’ qualifications. This suggests that policy intervention is required in some areas in order to improve the integration of migrant workers in Portuguese labour market.
05 February 2007: Inadequate protection against workplace noise (Slovakia / Information update)
Noise is among the most common risk factors in the working environment. The main sources of noise are machines, technical equipment and technological processes; however, noise also present in manual work, and in device and materials handling. In 2005, the National Labour Inspectorate undertook several initiatives within the framework of a campaign aimed at the protection of employees. Among other aspects, the inspection examined noise at the workplace and its elimination.
23 January 2007: Barriers to reconciling work and family life identified (Spain / Information update)
A study published by the Spanish Social and Economic Council, based on data from the labour force survey, shows that 18.1% of Spanish workers would like to change their current working time arrangements. The majority of these workers, especially women, would prefer to spend less time at work outside the home and to have more time to take care of children and other family members. However, current working times and practices in Spain do not favour flexible arrangements for workers. Meanwhile, workers consider that the availability of social services to look after children or other dependants is scarce and expensive. Finally, available data show that women are assuming a greater role in the workplace, while also maintaining their traditional family role, thus taking on a greater workload overall in comparison to Spanish men.
23 January 2007: EU campaign to raise awareness of dangers of asbestos (EU Level / Information update)
Asbestos-contaminated products and buildings continue to represent a dangerous hazard to EU citizens, costing the lives of many people. In addition to passing legislation banning the use and handling of this deadly fibre, the EU is running a campaign to remind people of the risks associated with exposure to asbestos. The campaign forms part of a concerted effort to identify and safely dispose of asbestos.
23 January 2007: Developing a lifelong learning strategy (Latvia / Information update)
With support from the European Union structural funds, Latvia has started to develop and implement a lifelong learning strategy. In order to ensure its scientific basis, the Baltic Institute of Social Sciences conducted an extensive study to examine the significance of education in the labour market, education accessibility for different socioeconomic groups and demand for education. The researchers have presented proposals for improvement of education and lifelong learning in relation to labour market needs.
23 January 2007: Not much flexibility in working time arrangements (Malta / Information update)
The National Statistics Office published survey findings regarding the different working time arrangements in the Maltese labour market. The study reveals that the average number of hours normally worked is 38.1 hours per week. However, 7.2% of all Maltese employees work more than their usual hours due to overtime. The average number of overtime hours is 9.7 hours per week.
23 January 2007: Inspection of supermarkets has led to improvements in working conditions (Poland / Information update)
In late 2005, the National Labour Inspectorate published a report on its control activities performed in supermarket chains from 1999 to 2005. The report contains a general overview of labour law observance in the sector and then focuses on specific supermarket chains where random checks were carried out. The labour inspectorate concludes that its activities contributed to an improvement of working conditions in retail chains.
09 January 2007: Steady wage increases reflect flexible wage policy (Estonia / Information update)
A recent study based on a survey of Estonian managers concludes that wage policy in Estonia is generally flexible. More than three quarters of companies review staff wages at least once a year, and 50% of companies pay an incentive wage based on performance. Wages on average are increasing along with productivity, which is the most important reason for a wage increase. According to Estonian managers, collective agreements and trade union activities have almost no impact on wages. The wider EU labour market is a new factor that employers have to take into account in their wages policies.
09 January 2007: Negative health outcomes arising from exposure to noise at work (Netherlands / Information update)
Exposure to workplace noise can cause hearing problems, such as hearing loss and tinnitus. However, there is evidence to suggest that noise exposure is also related to non-auditory health problems, such as voice strain, stress and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, exposure to noise at work is believed to contribute to an increased risk of workplace accidents. Recent data from the 2005 Netherlands Working Conditions Survey reveal the relation between noise, work-related stress outcomes and accidents at work.
04 January 2007: Survey examines migration intentions post-accession (Bulgaria / Information update)
The latest BBSS Gallup International survey on migration attitudes reveals that Bulgarian migrants pose little threat to the EU labour market. Estimates of the expected migration flow show that around 48,000 Bulgarians aged between 15 and 60 years have either some intention or a definite plans to work and live abroad. People who declare that they would prefer to work/study and live abroad amount to 3.1% of the population in this age group, while those who wish to work or study abroad for more than a year but intend to return to live in Bulgaria represent 2.5% of citizens in this age group.
04 January 2007: Cooperation between employers and employees regarding parental leave (Czech Republic / Information update)
Only 12% of companies provide employees with support in updating their skills when returning to work after a period of parental leave, according to survey findings. In this regard, larger companies are more likely to offer suitable training options than smaller companies. Approximately one fifth of companies allow their employees on parental leave to earn extra money by working during their leave period.
04 January 2007: Training opportunities for older workers (Austria / Information update)
A quantitative survey on older workers, conducted by the Austrian Chamber of Labour, differentiates between blue-collar and white-collar workers. The survey findings reveal that there are considerable differences in terms of access to and satisfaction with training between these two groups of older employees.
04 January 2007: Risk factors in long-term sickness absence (Denmark / Information update)
In recent years, sickness absence and the possibilities to reduce its incidence has been high on the policy agenda in Denmark. A study carried out by the Ministry of Employment into the causes of sickness absence concluded that physical factors, low skill discretion, low decision-making powers and poor quality of management all increase the likelihood of sickness absence among workers. Most interestingly, it appears that the combined effects of exposure to some physical risks and poor quality of management have had a huge impact on sickness absence levels to date.
04 January 2007: Case studies document practical experience of teleworking (Malta / Information update)
A qualitative research project, carried out for the Employment and Training Corporation, sought to identify and recommend national reforms required to make telework a feasible option for individuals and organisations wishing to adopt this form of work. The research includes three case studies of local companies in Malta offering some form of telework. The study’s findings were published in March 2005.
31 January 2007: Teamwork and high performance work organisation [ or view as size 998 kb]
This report provides a comparative overview of teamwork, based on the European Working Conditions Surveys and 16 national contributions to a questionnaire. It considers how teamwork has developed as a new form of work organisation and takes into account the context at national and company level. The study assesses the positive and negative influence of teamwork on diverse aspects of working conditions, such as job autonomy, job satisfaction, work intensity, productivity and the learning environment. It also investigates the prevalence of teamwork according to various factors including sex, sector and occupation. The national contributions from the following 16 countries are available (as PDF files): Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain Sweden and the United Kingdom. This report is available in electronic format only.