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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the civil aviation sector. 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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the food and drinks sector. 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 study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the food and drinks sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing sector. 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.
This report offers a backward look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey ‘ Living, working and COVID-19’ which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through four rounds of the survey (two in 2020 and two in 2021), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers. A fifth round of the e-survey is planned for March–May 2022, with initial findings available in July.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the professional football sector. 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 in the professional football sector in the EU Member States.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.