On 7 July 1999, the trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers, initiated
consultations with employer and trade union organisations on two proposed
amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1998, which seek to implement the
EU working time Directive (93/104/EC). The amendments - relating to the scope
of the derogation for "unmeasured working time" and the record-keeping
requirements for workers who have signed an "individual opt-out" from the
48-hour limit on average weekly working hours - are intended to "help
employers come to terms with the Regulations". The government's move follows
extensive complaints from employers' groups that the working time
Regulations, which came into force in October 1998 (UK9810154F ), have led
to confusion and increased bureaucracy.
A survey of the most important collective agreements signed in the
Netherlands so far in 1999, published in June, finds moderate average pay
increases of 2.7%. The number of agreements on training, flexible pension
schemes and the accumulation time off has increased in recent years. While
employers and, to a lesser extent, trade unions are in agreement on the
issues to be addressed in negotiations during the coming year, both sides
criticise aspects of the Netherlands' consultation and consensus-based system
- the "polder model".
At a time when industrial accidents are an increasingly important problem in
Spain, in June 1999 the CC.OO and UGT trade union confederations claimed that
the government is failing to fulfil its commitments on the prevention of
/It seems inevitable that increasing economic integration and competition
within Europe will have some influence on national collective bargaining. The
aim of this comparative study is to provide an assessment, as of summer 1999,
of the extent to which the processes and outcomes of bargaining in the 15
Member States of the EU, plus Norway, are developing a cross-border, European
dimension. The study outlines the diverse processes, both implicit and
explicit, which can be said to be leading towards a "Europeanisation" of
collective bargaining. Developments across the 16 countries concerned are
examined at intersectoral, sectoral and enterprise levels, with a special
focus on metalworking and financial services, and the views of the social
partners are summarised./
The collective agreement for France's banking sector has to be renegotiated
by 1 January 2000, following the decision in 1998 by the AFB employers'
organisation to terminate the accord. In June 1999, AFB tabled a draft of a
new agreement, which has been deemed unacceptable by all the trade unions
In June 1999, the Institute of Labour of the Greek General Confederation of
Labour (INE-GSEE) published a study examining the prevalent orthodox thinking
in Greece that increases in real wages reduce profitability, investments,
employment and competitiveness. The study claims that this belief is not
borne out by the statistical data for Greece.
On 14 July 1999, the European Commission adopted a Communication entitled A
concerted strategy for modernising social protection  (COM(99)347 final).
The Communication emphasises the key role played by social protection systems
in supporting public health and well-being and in redistributing wealth. It
is argued that, without social security transfers, nearly 40% of EU
households would be living in relative poverty (compared with the actual rate
of 17%). Spending on social protection accounts for an average of 28.5% of
The integrated police law adopted in December 1998, based on agreement
between Belgium's main political parties, provides for the overhaul of the
various law-and-order forces (the gendarmerie, criminal-investigation
department and municipal police), establishing federal and local levels and
defining a new unified statute for the entire force. Because of the
importance of the issues at stake, the police reform has caused an
unprecedented labour dispute during 1999 between police unions and the
Interior Ministry, leading to a breakdown in negotiations and highlighting
the complexity of police trade unionism in Belgium.
On 20 July 1999, the national council of the Confederation of British
Industry (CBI) adopted a policy statement  reaffirming that the CBI is "in
favour in principle of UK entry into European Economic and Monetary Union
once key conditions for success are in place". The CBI believes that UK
membership of EMU"has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the UK
economy", but that further progress is needed towards "sound fiscal
conditions in all major euro-zone countries", together with a shift in labour
market policies towards more flexibility. The new policy statement is the
culmination of a three-month consultation process involving voting on CBI
regional and national committees and a survey of wider membership opinion
carried out by polling organisation MORI.
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.
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?
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.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
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.
This report examines the labour market changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected sectors and occupations quite differently. It identifies those labour market categories most exposed to negative labour market outcomes. It analyses how differences in confinement and public health approaches may have contributed to different outcomes. It addresses previous assessments of the extent of occupational ‘teleworkability’ and of the sectoral impact of confinement rules. The report draws on EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) data for its analysis.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.
This report examines people's optimism about the future, for themselves and for others, and the extent to which it varies depending on one's social situation and perceptions of the quality of society. The study includes an analysis of the relationships between people’s perceptions of fairness and objective indicators of their social and economic situation and living standards.
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.