The comparative study was compiled on the basis of individual national
reports submitted by EIRO's national centres. The text of each of these
national reports is available below in Word format. The reports have not been
edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a
questionnaire  and should be read in conjunction with it.
On 11 June 2003, a tripartite meeting was held on the initiative of the
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB ) to discuss
the issue of unpaid wages. The meeting brought together representatives of
the government, employers’ organisations and CITUB and its member branch
federations, along with trade union officials from some of the companies
Proposals for a radical re-organisation of time arrangements over working life using a life-course perspective tend to challenge the traditional understanding of socio-economic issues. The ‘life course’ concept itself is not new, as it has figured prominently in debates on labour market, social security, demographic and working time issues since the 1960s. It is now back on the political agenda. The Foundation’s report, A new organisation of time over working life, addresses the subject of reorganising time arrangements specifically from the life course perspective. The report concludes that an explicit life course policy offers much potential as an approach to facilitating a new organisation of time throughout working life. This paper summarizes the findings of the project which are published in a report (EF0336). An information sheet on this topic is also available (EF0344).
On 22 July 2003, theCouncil of the European Union adopted the 2003 employment
guidelines  and recommendations  on employment policy to Member States,
which had been proposed by the European Commission in April 2003. These
guidelines and recommendations are drawn up within the context of the
European employment strategy  (EES), which has been in place since 1997.
Following a review of the EES undertaken in 2002 after five years of
operation (EU0209204F ), and proposals for its streamlining, made by the
Commission in a Communication  in September 2002 (EU0210206F ), the
timing and the content has changed somewhat in 2003. Notably, the employment
guidelines have been revised so as to: ensure a stronger link with EU
economic policy coordination (through streamlined timetables); lay down fewer
guidelines with a broader perspective; provide a medium-term time horizon in
order to achieve an increased emphasis on results and outcomes; and
strengthen the involvement of the social partners, local authorities and
In July 2003, the Dutch social partners, represented on the bipartite Labour
Foundation, issued an opinion opposing a proposal for the reform of
dismissals law put forward by a government-appointed committee. The committee
proposed abolishing the system whereby dismissals must be approved in advance
by a public authority. The Foundation argues that the objections raised by
the committee do not outweigh the advantages of the present system, which
keeps costs in check and offers the parties involved a high degree of
certainty and security.
On 8 October 2001, the EU Council of Ministers adopted Council Regulation
(EC) No. 2157/2001  on the Statute for a European Company (or Societas
Europaea, SE) and Council Directive 2001/86/EC  supplementing the Statute
for a European Company with regard to the involvement of employees
(EU0206202F ). Member States must adopt the laws, regulations and
administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 8 October
2004 (the date that the Regulation, which is directly applicable in the
Member States, comes into force), or ensure by then that management and
labour introduce the required provisions by agreement. The European Company
Statute (ECS) Regulation gives companies the option of forming a European
Company (SE) which can operate on a Europe-wide basis and be governed by
Community law directly applicable in all Member States (rather than national
law). The Directive lays down the employee involvement provisions to apply to
SEs - providing for negotiations between management and employee
representatives in each SE on the arrangements to apply, with a set of
back-up statutory 'standard rules' where no agreement is reached. Involvement
constitutes the information and consultation of employees and, in some cases,
Special 'tripartite sector teams', made up of representatives of the social
partners and government, have been created in Poland since the 1990s to deal
with the problems of selected industries (such as coal mining, metalworking
and power generation) facing restructuring, privatisation and reorganisation.
The teams are responsible for drawing up guidelines on restructuring within
these sectors, including 'social packages' for employees. This article
examines the operation of the tripartite sector teams up until the end of
The Union of Wood, Industrial and Building Workers (Træ-Industri-Byg, TIB)
has announced that it will establish an affiliated organisation to recruit as
trade union members self-employed 'sole operators' working in the
construction industry. These sole operators work alone without any employees
and do not meet the conditions to be considered as companies, as all they
provide is their own labour - ie in reality they work as normal wage earners
(they are known as 'arme og ben-firmaer', or 'arms and legs firms'). TIB
estimates that there are around 11,000 such sole operators, and the number is
increasing. According to the union, their presence in the industry results in
'dumping' in terms of prices and safety. Typically, they work at lower wages
than employees covered by a collective agreement, and TIB and the trade union
bargaining cartel in building and construction, (Bygge-, Anlægs- og
Trækartellet, BAT-kartellet) see this as a serious problem. Together the
unions are aiming to combat this phenomenon, both through unionising the more
'serious' of the self-employed sole operators and closing down the less
serious 'arms and legs firms'.
From 1 July 2003, the Labour Code of the Republic of Hungary was amended by
Act XX of 2003. The modifications include the transposition of five European
Union Directives on: working time (2000/34/EC ); fixed-term work
(1999/70/EC ); part-time work (1997/81/EC ); transfers of undertakings
(2001/23/EC ); and the working time of seafarers (1999/63/EC ).
Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
Eurofound's representativeness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.
This series reports on developments in minimum wage rates across the EU, including how they are set and how they have developed over time in nominal and real terms. The series explores where there are statutory minimum wages or collectively agreed minimum wages in the Member States, as well as minimum wage coverage rates by gender.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.
The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.
Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).
This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.
The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.
This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries – the 27 EU Member States and Norway. The country reports summarise evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working life based on national research and survey results during 2021. They outline the policy responses of governments and social partners in their efforts to cushion the socioeconomic effects and include a focus on policy areas related to adapting to the pandemic and the return to work.
Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are undergoing a rapid evolution. This impacts working conditions in a variety of ways and raises a host of new ethical concerns. In recent times, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. Key EU policy developments, especially in relation to AI, have shaped the policy debate in many EU Member States, and in some instances they have led to the adoption of new policy initiatives that address these concerns in the context of work and employment.
Every year, Eurofound compiles a report summarising the key developments in minimum wages across EU countries. The report explains how minimum wages are set and describes the role of social partners, covering the evolution of statutory rates, collectively agreed wages and the national debates on these issues.
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
This report will map the existing regulations on telework in European Union Member States, including in legislation and collective agreements. It will present the most recent changes to these regulations and shed light on how the future of (tele)work could be regulated at both national and EU level, in order to improve working conditions in telework arrangements and reduce the risks associated with telework and with specific ways of working remotely.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.