EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


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

13895 items found
  • 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.
  • Policy responses from governments and social partners to the COVID-19 pandemic

    EU Member States acted swiftly in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, introducing measures aimed at cushioning the impact of the crisis on society, the economy and the labour market. In some countries, policies targeted businesses and employers directly; elsewhere, employees and self-employed people in sectors negatively affected by lockdowns were given dedicated support first.
  • Changing priorities: The impact of COVID-19 on national policy agendas

    A first analysis of working life policies and developments in 2020 shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has in some cases speeded up and in other cases slowed down several policy developments in the EU, Norway and the UK, albeit to varying degrees, and dependent on national contexts. Increased teleworking led to a number of accelerated policy developments to address the new work reality for many employees.
  • Relative calm on the industrial action front in 2020

    Despite the economic turmoil that led to large-scale restructuring in many EU Member States and changes in working conditions for many occupational groups, 2020 seems to have been a quiet year in terms of industrial action. At the time of writing this article, national statistics for 2020 are available in only a few countries; however, several correspondents have reported a clear decline in industrial action. The most significant labour disputes related to COVID-19 occurred in the human health and social services sector, the education sector, and the transportation and logistics sector.
  • Member States are dawdling on gender pay transparency

    The gender pay gap in gross hourly earnings in the EU was 14.8% in 2018. To help combat discriminatory pay practices by employers, the European Commission recommended in 2014 the introduction of pay transparency measures in all Member States. But more than half still have not implemented any such measures. Ursula von der Leyen announced in 2019 the Commission’s intention to table measures introducing binding pay transparency measures as part of new anti-discrimination legislation. Where do Member States currently stand on the agenda?
  • EU level: Latest developments in working life Q2 2020

    Activities of the European Commission and social partners regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the high-level hearing on implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and a fair EU minimum wage initiative are the main topics of interest in this article. This EU update reports on the latest developments in working life in EU in the second quarter of 2020.
  • EU labour law directives and national collective agreements: A clash of cultures?

    Collective agreements are among the panoply of national measures deemed appropriate mechanisms for the implementation of EU directives in the fields of social and employment policy and industrial r
  • EU level: Latest developments in working life Q1 2020

    Social partners’ reactions to the Commission's proposals for a strong social Europe, including a minimum fair wage initiative, are the main topics of interest in this article. This EU update reports on the latest developments in working life in the EU in the first quarter of 2020. Topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic are presented in a separate article.
  • EU level: Latest developments in working life in light of the COVID-19 pandemic - Q1 2020

    In early March 2020, working life in EU Member States came under enormous pressure due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 disease and the precautionary measures taken by governments in subsequent weeks. This article gives a brief overview of the first reactions of European institutions and some of the responses by EU social partners to those challenges in the first quarter of 2020.