The Netherlands' 1996 Working Time Act granted hospitals until 1 January 1999
to meet its requirements. In summer 1999, the health and safety inspectorate
drew up an official report on nine hospitals that had still not properly
arranged their schedules in line with the Act. The long working weeks of
physicians' assistants raised special concern, partly due to the fact that
their schedules are modelled on specialists' working weeks. Occupational
disability amongst this category has risen dramatically over recent years,
particularly due to emotional problems resulting from excessive on-the-job
pressure. Preventive measures, including a more normal working week, are now
In autumn 1999, a law revising the Labour Procedural Code has been approved
by Portugal's Council of Ministers and now awaits affirmation by the
President of the Republic and official publication. The upcoming changes in
procedures for court cases on labour and employment issues involves a
considerable broadening of trade unions' abilities to act in such cases.
The way now seems to be clear for the creation of Union Network International
(UNI), bringing together four existing International Trade Secretariats: the
International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical
Employees (FIET); the Communications International (CI); the Media and
Entertainment International (MEI); and the International Graphical Federation
(IGF). The new "super-union" would bring together up to 800 unions with over
15 million members from more than 140 countries around the globe in the
rapidly converging fields of new technology, communications and services.
In late August 1999, France's Credit Institution Council ruled against the
attempt by the BNP banking group to merge with Société Générale. In
addition to the position of the financial markets, the opposition of
employees played a role in the Council's decision.
In Germany, collective agreements are directly binding only for the members
of the trade union and the members of the employers' association (or the
individual company) signing the agreement. By means of an official procedure
called an "order imposing extension" (Allgemeinverbindlicherklärung),
however, the applicability of an existing collective agreement can be
extended to include employees and employers not bound by the agreement. Such
a generally applicable agreement then has the same direct and mandatory force
for these employees and employers as it has for the employment relationships
already bound by the agreement by virtue of membership of a signatory
organisation. The rationale behind this incorporation of non-union members
and non-organised employers is that otherwise there could be a situation
where many employees were not covered by any collective agreement, especially
in sectors such as the building industry or retail trade with a large number
of small enterprises whose owners are not members of any association.
In early September 1999, the General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE)
presented its positions on pensions. The trade unions downplay the importance
of demographic trends, taken alone, and stress the importance of economic
policy and renewal of the labour force.
While legislation outlawing discrimination on the grounds of gender and
marital status in relation to pay  and other aspects of employment was
introduced in Ireland in the 1970s, primarily as a response to EU Directives,
until recently there has been little legislative provision in relation to
other forms of discrimination. The enactment of the Employment Equality Act
1998 has changed this situation dramatically. This legislation, which had
been in the pipeline for a number of years, comes into force in October 1999.
The debate on the level of minimum pensions in Spain has been prominent
during summer 1999. Pressure from trade unions and others to increase these
pensions has been mounting against a background of some 3 million pensioners
living below the poverty line. The issue is also important in the context of
the forthcoming general election in spring 2000.
Comparative Study 
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 20 July 1999, the government decided to finance the training of up to
4,000 young people, if they cannot find training places with employers in
1999-2000. This is the same allocation as for 1998-9 (AT9803175N ), when
3,600 young people were placed - 2,100 in 10-month training courses and 1,500
in three-year "apprenticeship-foundation" courses. Training course
participants must have a ninth-grade school-leaving diploma (the ninth grade
is around 15 years of age) and receive about half the regular apprentice's
remuneration, while foundation course participants have not usually completed
the ninth grade and receive three-quarters of the normal apprentice's
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 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, conducted in two rounds – in April and in July 2020. 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 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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
This report examines the contribution of social and employment services in EU Member States to the inclusion of people with disabilities, specifically in relation to the impact these have on labour market integration – in line with the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report includes a discussion of the costs and benefits of different approaches.
Living and working in Europe, Eurofound’s 2020 yearbook, provides a snapshot of what is happening in the work and lives of Europeans as explored in the Agency’s research activities over the course of 2020. The scope is broad, from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and on people’s well-being to the inequalities in the working conditions of women and men. It also highlights the connections between Eurofound’s work and EU policy priorities in the coming years.
The third round of Eurofound's e-survey, fielded in February and March 2021, sheds light on the social and economic situation of people after nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions: How are people doing? What is their outlook on life? How has the availability of vaccinations changed their perceptions? This report presents an overview of the main findings and tracks the developments across the 27 EU Member States since the survey was first launched in April 2020.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.