EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Articles

EurWORK articles cover working life in Europe, in particular the fields of industrial relations and working conditions. The articles are based on quarterly reporting provided by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.

  • Topical updates summarise and update developments around selected topics, which are relevant across a number of Member States at the same time
  • Spotlight reports cover in more depth country-level events, debates and changes in regulation related to working life, aiming to provide a balanced view of all parties’ positions
  • Research in Focus articles report on important research findings (including surveys) from the national level, often, but not exclusively, in the area of working conditions
  • In brief articles are short news items drawn from the correspondents' quarterly reports
  • Country updates summarise developments at national level and are published 4 times a year

13893 items found
  • First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

    Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Governments throughout the EU had already started to intervene with policy measures in a bid to cushion the impact of rising fuel and energy prices on citizens, but the situation demanded further responses. This article summarises these first policy responses, as reported in Eurofound’s EU PolicyWatch database, up to the end of May 2022.
  • Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

    As the war in Ukraine has intensified, the cost of food, raw materials and energy prices, already high due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has continued to rise substantially. Ahead of coordinated action at EU level, as agreed by EU energy ministers on 9 September 2022, governments across the EU have started to implement policies to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus. This article summarises these first policy responses, as reported in Eurofound’s EU PolicyWatch database, up to 31 May 2022.
  • Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

    Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the mass immigration of refugees into the EU – over 5 million to date, according to the UNHCR – has put European societies under pressure. EU and national-level policymakers together with civil society reacted quickly to accommodate the waves of fleeing Ukrainians. The Temporary Protection Directive grants displaced Ukrainians temporary refugee status, which gives them various rights, including the right to residence, social protection, access to work, education and healthcare.
  • COVID-19 in the workplace: Employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe workplace

    Throughout 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific occupational health and safety rules were reintroduced due to increases in infection rates. Mandatory face masks, physical distancing and hygiene measures were enforced, and the recommendation to telework was largely re-instated in phases of high epidemiological risk. In many countries, employers were obliged to perform a COVID-19 risk assessment and implement measures accordingly.
  • Collective bargaining and social dialogue – Back to normal in 2021?

    Two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, social dialogue continues to make a significant contribution to helping economies recover. Managing the crisis led many governments to rely on tripartite social dialogue to develop the policies that would mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy and the labour market. This was borne out by the intensification of activities by national social dialogue institutions and by the agreements signed in many countries. In 2021, tripartite social dialogue shifted its focus from crisis mitigation measures to recovery and issues such as minimum wages and the green transition.
  • Back to work after COVID-19: Testing, vaccines and green certificates

    In the second pandemic year 2021, access to one’s place of work was increasingly dependent on providing proof of either having been tested, vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in several countries. Specific professional groups – such as essential workers and workers in critical infrastructure – were prioritised in vaccination programmes. A general vaccination mandate was introduced only in one country – Austria – where, however, the legislation was suspended shortly after its launch. In several countries, vaccination was made mandatory for specific employee groups, and this policy, if contested, was by and large endorsed by court rulings. Social partners have generally encouraged employees to get vaccinated, with unions mostly opposed to both the obligation on workers to disclose their vaccination status and mandatory vaccinations.
  • Minimum wages in 2022: Bigger hikes this time around

    The first overview of minimum wage setting for 2022 shows that, while some negotiations are still ongoing, virtually all EU Member States have increased their nominal statutory rates. Compared to last year, when most countries settled for cautious increases against a background of deep uncertainty caused by the pandemic, growth in statutory rates for 2022 was stronger, reflecting an easing of the situation. This was especially the case in central and eastern European countries, where some increases were in double digits. Nevertheless, inflation is back in the picture and should be monitored in the coming months to get an insight into how the increases in nominal minimum wage rates translate into actual changes in the purchasing power of minimum wage earners.
  • Workers want to telework but long working hours, isolation and inadequate equipment must be tackled

    Female teleworker taking notes during video conference on her laptop
    The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a surge in telework, with dramatic increases in the number of employees working from home (teleworking) in many European countries. What for many employees started out as a mandatory move seems to have transformed into a preference among the majority for part-time or full-time telework.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on wages and wage setting

    The COVID-19 crisis had a significant impact on wages and wage setting across Europe in 2020. The uncertain economic scenario, together with the difficulties inherent in online bargaining, led to a general postponement of collective agreements to 2021, especially at company level. Real wages maintained a positive trend during 2020 in most EU countries, with just modest increases, while higher increases were observed in the public sector.
  • Mixed impacts of COVID-19 on social dialogue and collective bargaining in 2020

    ​​​​​​​A first analysis of developments in working life in 2020 shows that the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on social dialogue and collective bargaining in the EU, Norway and the UK, albeit to varying degrees. While in some countries, standard procedures were by and large maintained, in others, tripartite consultation was sidelined in the face of time pressure and an uncertain economic environment. Collective bargaining was often postponed or suspended indefinitely, especially in those sectors that were hit hard by government-imposed lockdowns. The number of renewed collective agreements decreased sharply in some countries.

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