On 7 June 2003, the German Metalworkers' Union (Industriegewerkschaft Metall,
IG Metall) and the employers' association for the German steel industry
(Arbeitgeberverband Stahl) agreed on the phasing-in of a 35-hour working week
in the eastern German steel industry by 2009. Collectively agreed working
time in the eastern steel industry is currently 38 hours a week, while a
35-hour week applies in the sector in western Germany. The new framework
agreement on employment conditions  (Manteltarifvertrag) now provides for
a step-by-step reduction in standard working time as follows:
The reduction of working time has become a central bargaining demand for
Hungarian trade unions at national level in recent years. In Hungary, regular
working time is regulated virtually solely by the Labour Code, as its
reduction is rarely an issue for sectoral or company-level collective
agreements. The 40-hour statutory working week has not changed since 1992,
though a minor decrease in annual working time took place in the 1990s owing
to the introduction of new public holidays. Although the 2002 election
programme of the Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Párt,MSZP
), now the major party in the coalition government, made promises
concerning the reduction of working time (HU0206101F ), until now the
government has not acted on this issue.
According to Latvian labour law, the minimum wage paid may not be lower than
the minimum set by the government. The national minimum wage is not linked to
any economically-based income indicator, with the cabinet determining the
minimum wage for 'normal-time' employees and the minimum hourly rate on the
basis of fiscal and social considerations. From a very low level - EUR 3.48
in 1992 (1 LVL currently equals 0.661 EUR) - the monthly minimum wage has
increased to EUR 105.9 in 2003. The government: raised the minimum wage twice
in 1992 (to EUR 5.07 and EUR 11.35); doubled it in 1993 (to EUR 22.70);
raised it twice in 1994 (to EUR 34.04 and EUR 42.36); increased it in 1996
(to EUR 57.49), 1998 (to EUR 63.54), 1999 (to EUR 75.64) and 2001 (to EUR
90.77); and set it at EUR 105.9 from 1 January 2003.
A recent statement from the managing director of the Association of Employers
in the Danish Building Industry (Dansk Byggeri) has angered trade unions
represented in the building industry, the General Workers' Union
(Specialarbejderforbundet i Danmark, SiD) and the Union of Wood, Industrial
and Building Workers (Forbundet Træ-Industri-Byg, TIB). He stated that it
would be a sign of bad management and leadership if Danish building industry
employers did not take advantage of the opportunity to employ workers from
Poland and the Baltic states after they join the European Union in 1 May
2004. Such workers could be hired at the lowest wage laid down in the
relevant collective agreement without any difficulty. Normally Danish workers
are paid close to the double the sector's minimum wage of DKK 94 per hour
because of local agreements and acquired bonus entitlements. Hiring a central
or eastern European worker on the lowest possible wage might breach the
spirit of the wage development agreed in collective bargaining, but would not
be against any collectively agreed or legislative provision. The employers
also state that Danish workers on a building site will not be able to demand
that new recruits from eastern Europe be paid at the same rate as them.
On 20 June 2003, Ireland’s 270 public health doctors, represented by the
Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), returned to work after a 10-week strike
over a demand for concrete proposals from their employers in relation to
improved pay, status, and terms and conditions of employment (IE0305203F
). During this time, the dispute became increasingly bitter, as the
parties’ positions remained polarised. However, the dispute has now been
resolved by a 'return to work formula' accepted by IMO and the Health Service
Employers Agency (HSEA). This formula is based on a complex set of proposals
brokered by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), under which pay increases
due under the local pay bargaining clauses of previous national agreements
and the implementation of the Brennan Review of public health (this review
was established to examine the future of public health structures, and its
report was published in April 2002), were referred to the Public Service
This report seeks to address the question whether the structure of business
finance in continental Europe is likely to converge towards the model
observed in the UK and US economies where financial intermediaries,
especially banks, play a much smaller role in the allocation of savings to
productive investment purposes.
A seminar on corporate social responsibility (CSR) held in Portugal in June
2003 aimed to promote debate on the issue with a view to improving
understanding of the principles and practices involved. The occasion
presented the social partners with an opportunity to give their views on CSR,
and they all stressed that one of the prerequisites in Portugal is respect
for existing laws on economic activity, employment and the environment.
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.
Die Arbeitskosten, also alle Aufwendungen, die einem Arbeitgeber durch die
Beschäftigung von Arbeitskräften entstehen, bilden zweifellos den Dreh- und
Angelpunkt der Arbeitsbeziehungen. Zu den Hauptbestandteilen der
Gesamtarbeitskosten, wie sie Eurostat im Einklang mit der von der
International Conference of Labour Statisticians vereinbarten internationalen
Begriffsbestimmung  definierte, zählen die Arbeitnehmerentgelte (darunter
Löhne und Gehälter), die Sozialbeiträge der Arbeitnehmer, Aufwendungen
für die berufliche Bildung und Steuern zu Lasten des Arbeitsgebers. Die
Höhe des Direktentgelts wird in den meisten europäischen Ländern in
Tarifverhandlungen festgelegt oder von diesen stark beeinflusst. Zugleich
nehmen die Sozialpartner in zahlreichen Ländern (über Verhandlungen oder
auf anderem Wege) auch auf Faktoren wie die Höhe der
Arbeitgebersozialbeiträge oder die Aufwendungen für die berufliche Bildung
Einfluss. Man könnte also mit Fug und Recht behaupten, dass es bei den
Arbeitsbeziehungen zu einem großen Teil um die Festlegung der Arbeitskosten
Measures implemented by companies to help their employees in reconciling work
and family responsibilities are still relatively rare in Italy. However, the
findings of a survey, published in 2003, highlight a number of interesting
'family-friendly' schemes introduced by Italian companies in recent years.
The survey indicates that these companies provide a varied mix of measures,
including innovative working time arrangements and telework, company services
for families and childcare, allowances and benefits, and specific
career-support measures for employees with family commitments.
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.
Given that compliance with lockdown measures is a first line of defence against COVID-19, maintaining trust in institutions is vital to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive and effective response to the pandemic. This report investigates developments in institutional and interpersonal trust across time, with a particular emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic period and its impact. It examines the link between trust and discontent and investigates the effect of multidimensional inequalities as a driver of distrust.
This paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
Between 2021 and 2023 Eurofound is carrying out a pilot project on minimum wage on behalf of the European Commission. The question of how minimum wages and other forms of pay can be fixed for the self-employed is investigated as a part of this project through mapping national and sectoral approaches. Out of concern for the challenging conditions that the self-employed face, some Member States have established or are discussing establishing statutory forms of minimum pay for certain categories of self-employed.
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?
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
The report provides an overview of the scale of teleworking before and during the COVID-19 crisis and gives an indication of ‘teleworkability’ across sectors and occupations. Building on previous Eurofound research on remote work, the report investigates the way businesses introduced and supported teleworking during the pandemic, as well as the experience of workers who were working from home during the crisis. The report also looks at developments in regulations related to telework in Member States and provides a review of stakeholders’ positions.
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.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in European sectoral social dialogue taking place at cross-sectoral level. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations at cross-sectoral level in the EU Member States.