The changing concept of work: When does typical work become atypical?

In most countries, a standard (or core) model of employment relationship (i.e. full-time work under an open-ended employment contract) typically receives the greatest labour and social security protection, with divergent work arrangements receiving less protection in correlation to the magnitude of the differences between the former and the latter. However, recent developments concerning non-standard forms of work may question this dynamic. In this article, we examine the nature and current evolution of the standard employment relationship, then analyse how other forms of work deviate from this standard. In order to do so, we draw on the conclusions of the numerous studies recently published by scholars and international organisations in the wake of the growing public debate on the 'new world of work'. Afterwards, we analyse the situation of non-standard workers under certain social security sys-tems, in order to determine how those systems have approached the divergent character of these forms of work. This leads us to identify the main challengesthat social security systems experience when faced with non-standard forms of work. The article concludes by addressing the need to adapt the basic principles of social security to the atypical features of non-standard work.

Shoukens, P. and Barrio, A. (2017), 'The changing concept of work: When does typical work become atypical?' European Labour Law Journal, 8(4), pp. 306-332.


  • no specific sector focus
  • EU28
  • 2017
  • Research publication
  • employment status, legal issues
  • English
  • European Labour Law Journal (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • Subscription
Disclaimer  —  Eurofound aims to keep the information in this database up to date and accurate. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. However, Eurofound bears no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy or content of this database or of external links over which Eurofound services have no control and for which Eurofound assumes no responsibility.