France's second bill on the 35-hour week, under parliamentary discussion in
autumn 1999, will exclude many managerial and professional staff from the
regulations on the length of working time applicable to all employees. Their
maximum working time will be expressed as 217 days per year, with few
restrictions related to the number of hours worked. These measures have
provoked heated responses from the trade unions, which suggests that a lively
debate will ensue over this issue in parliament.
In summer 1999, the Social Division of the Spanish Supreme Court ratified a
ruling by the Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia that found the Caixa de
Catalunya savings bank guilty of indirect discrimination against women.
From January 2000, insurance for work-related accidents and occupational
illnesses will be obligatory for Portugal's numerous self-employed workers,
many of whom work in the construction sector where the level of accidents is
the highest. The new legislation is one more step towards defining the status
of self-employed workers, but the trade unions see it as a means of applying
pressure to clarify the status of workers in situations of bogus
The first half of 1999 saw a substantial increase in the use of temporary
agency work in Italy. Projections estimate that by the end of the year the
number of temporary agency workers will stand at 200,000. Agency work is on
the agenda of the social dialogue between the government and social partners
in autumn 1999.
In a report published in September 1999, the Union of Industrial and
Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE) outlines its vision for social
Europe beyond 2000. The document, entitled "Releasing Europe's employment
potential - companies' views on European social policy beyond 2000,"
identifies unemployment as Europe's most fundamental economic and social
problem and sees competitiveness as one of the key solutions to economic and
social challenges, arguing that this should therefore be the underlying
concern throughout EU policy. UNICE states that, in order to translate growth
into employment, Europe needs to address the issues of economic globalisation
more effectively. It is argued that the high unemployment rates in Europe are
caused not by a lack of demand, but by structural problems.
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.
Over 1999, a committee of experts set up in February by the Dutch Minister of
Social Affairs and Employment has been examining possible reform of the law
governing dismissal. Although reform of dismissals law has been attempted
frequently in the past, the prevailing law has remained largely unchanged
over the last half century. Nonetheless, the law's application in practice
On 20 April 1999, the first senate of the German Federal Labour Court
(Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) issued a judgment (/1 ABR 72/98/) which
acknowledged the right of trade unions to bring court cases against employers
which they accuse of operating a company arrangement that contravenes a
collective agreement in force. In July 1999, the BAG published a
comprehensive written statement in which it sets out the reasons for its
judgment. According to the statement, trade unions have the right to ask that
employers cease an unlawful company arrangement in order to safeguard the
unions' constitutional right to freedom of association 
The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), Ireland's
largest trade union, is in the process of establishing its own internal
employee forum which is separate from the traditional industrial relations
processes within the union. The role of SIPTU's staff representative council,
which deals with industrial relations issues such as pay and conditions, is
to remain unchanged.
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.
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 three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
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 Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
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 COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.