Eurofound glossary

The glossary is a compilation of definitions of terms commonly found in Eurofound research and used across the website in the various areas of expertise. It is closely linked with Eurofound's research topics and the European Industrial Relations Dictionary. It also covers our surveys and monitoring tools, common abbreviations, acronyms for organisations, as well as titles of EU legislation or programmes all commonly referred to in Eurofound publications. 

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A

Active ageing
In a context of ageing populations across EU Member States, ‘active ageing’ is a policy focus for the EU, given predictions as to the expected contraction of the working age population in coming decades and the expected impact on welfare provision. Active ageing was defined by the EU-level cross-sector social partners in a 2017 framework agreement as the optimisation of opportunities for workers of all ages to work in good quality, productive and healthy conditions until legal retirement age, based on mutual commitment and motivation of employers and workers. But it is also about supporting people as they age in their ability to contribute to both the economy and society. The European Commission has launched a number of initiatives to cultivate active ageing, including an Active Ageing Index covering activities in employment but also participation in society and independent living, and the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.
Ageing workforce
Demographic changes, such as low birth rates and rising life expectancy, mean that there is an increased proportion of older people in Europe and concomitantly, an ageing workforce. This has led to concerns over the future supply of labour, given that the population of working age (18–64) is also shrinking, and thus a policy focus on promotion of employment opportunities for older workers. Accordingly, the European Pillar of Social Rights provides a framework for labour market adaptation to such challenges while promoting intergenerational fairness, aiming to facilitate prolonged labour market participation. Moreover, the 2017 European social partners’ autonomous agreement on active ageing commits to encouraging older workers to actively participate and stay longer in the labour market.
Agreements
These are written (or sometimes oral, in more voluntarist contexts) agreements between employers and trade unions that are the outcome of collective bargaining and/or social dialogue processes. Such agreements allow for the joint regulation of the employment relationship. They may specify substantive rules that govern terms and conditions of employment and can also determine procedural rules governing the behaviour and interaction of parties to the agreements. In the EU context, the social partners are encouraged to negotiate and conclude collective agreements that can then be implemented at European, national, regional, sectoral or company level. Agreements may be legal contracts, enforceable in law, in many countries.

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B

Born globals
‘Born globals’ are businesses that from, or briefly after, inception are intensively engaged in international activities. In general, these companies have an active, strategic intention to internationalise, often driven by the global mindset of the owner/manager and the specific characteristics of their goods or services. Born globals tend to be young, innovative companies covering a specific niche in global supply chains. They eschew the traditional approach to internationalisation, whereby companies first establish a solid domestic market before exploring opportunities for growth in adjacent countries, only subsequently venturing further afield.

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C

Capacity building
Eurofound defines ‘capacity building’ as the enhancement of the skills, abilities and powers of social partners to engage effectively at different levels (EU, national, regional, sectoral, company and establishment) in the following industrial relations processes: social dialogue, collective bargaining, (co-)regulating the employment relationship, tripartite and bipartite consultations, public policymaking and influencing public policymaking via advocacy.
Care
Care may be globally defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance and protection of someone or something. It includes childcare, long-term care of older persons or those with disabilities and healthcare. To understand the implications of care, it is worth distinguishing between care recipients and people with care responsibilities (carers). It is also important to distinguish between care as paid or unpaid work and informal care provided by family and friends.
Care: Childcare
Childcare denotes the care of children that is provided either by parents/guardians, the state, a private organisation or another person. It acquires particular relevance in employment and industrial relations when one or both parents work, and either needs time off to look after children or requires support from external organisations or networks to provide this. A variety of EU policy measures aim to tackle the issue of childcare provision and increasingly emphasise benefits to children’s quality of life and development. In 2018, the European Commission launched a study on the feasibility of a child guarantee scheme for vulnerable children. In April 2019, the European Parlliament adopted the proposal for a new Directive on work–life balance for parents and carers which sets out minimum requirements for paternity, parental and carers’ leave. Moreover, Council Recommendation 92/241/EEC on childcare urges Member States to develop measures to enable women and men to reconcile employment with family obligations arising from the care of children.
Care: Healthcare
Healthcare is the maintenance, improvement or restoration of health via the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, illness, injury or other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Healthcare is delivered by health professionals (providers or practitioners) in allied health fields. Healthcare encompasses work carried out in providing primary, secondary and tertiary care, as well as in public health. Access to healthcare varies across countries, communities and individuals, largely influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as the health policies and systems in place. Healthcare systems are policies and organisations established to meet the health needs of targeted populations. Their exact configuration varies between national and subnational entities.
Care: Long-term care
Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person's health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own. Care recipients can include those in need of care due to illness, disability or old-age infirmity. Long-term care is provided in different places by different caregivers, depending on a person's needs and preferences, but also the availability of support. It can include informal or formal services around assistance in daily life (home care), nursing care at home, and care in facilities such as a residential/nursing home or a community centre (for example, in an adult day care centre).
CEDEFOP
The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (known by the acronym of its French name, Cedefop) is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies charged with the task of assisting the European Commission, the Member States and social partner organisations across Europe regarding policy on vocational training and training in the European Union. Cedefop was established in 1975 by Council Regulation 337/75, as the TFEU Treaty (Article 166) requires that the EU supports and supplements Member States' efforts in vocational training policy. Thus, Cedefop provides information on and analyses of vocational education and training systems, policies, research and practice so as to support the development and improvement of vocational education and training in and across Europe.
Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining refers to all negotiations between trade unions and employers for determining working conditions and terms of employment, including issues related to pay and working time, and for regulating relations between employers and workers, as outlined in ILO Convention 154. A number of dimensions of collective bargaining (‘bargaining structure’) have been identified. These include coverage which refers to the percentage of employees directly affected by agreements; the level that bargaining occurs at; the scope, or range of topics encompassed by bargaining; and depth – that is the extent to which agreements are jointly implemented and reviewed.
Convergence
COVID-19
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections which are highly contagious, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus disease is COVID-19. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus and ‘D’ for disease. The ‘19’ refers to the year in which it first appeared (2019). The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic that has caused significant social and economic disruption.
Country-specific recommendations
Country-specific recommendations (CSRs) are part of the EU’s annual European Semester process. The latter provides a framework for the coordination of economic policies across the EU, with the cycle of coordination beginning in November each year when the Commission sets priorities for the following 12 months. Member states subsequently submit their national reform programmes and stability/convergence programmes in March/April. Having assessed these plans, the Commission presents each country with a set of CSRs. The recommendations focus on what can be achieved over the next 12–18 months and adapt EU-level priorities to the national level. The recommendations are discussed among the governments in the Council of the European Union, endorsed by EU leaders at a summit in June and formally adopted by the national finance ministers in July.

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D

Decent work
Decent work is a term coined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to cover the four pillars of job creation, guaranteeing rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.It describes the goal of decent work as ‘not just the creation of jobs, but also the creation of jobs of acceptable quality.’ For the ILO, decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment. The ILO has developed a ‘decent work agenda’, aimed at achieving fair globalisation and reducing poverty.
Deprivation
Material deprivation, as defined by Eurostat, is a state of economic strain for individuals or households whereby they are unable to pay unexpected expenses, afford a one-week annual holiday away from home, a meal involving meat, chicken or fish every second day, the adequate heating of a dwelling, durable goods like a washing machine, colour television, telephone or car, or are confronted with payment arrears. Although deprivation is often understood and measured as material deprivation, the debate is extending towards including other aspects, such as social deprivation. Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) looks at the impact of various aspects of deprivation on well-being.
Digital single market
The European Commission aims to harmonise the existing digital markets of all EU Member States into one, effectively eliminating barriers to cross-border online activity and removing key differences between online and offline worlds. In order to achieve this goal, the Commission adopted the Digital Single Market strategy on 6 May 2015. This is one of the European Commission’s 10 political priorities for 2015–2019 and comprises three policy pillars. These are to improve access to digital goods and services for consumers and businesses across Europe; to create an environment where digital networks and services can prosper, through the provision of high-speed, secure infrastructures and services supported by the right regulation; and to maximise the growth potential of the European Digital Economy and ensure its inclusivity.
Disability and chronic disease
There is no official EU definition of disability. However, the EU’s European Disability Strategy 2010–2020 cites the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first legally-binding international human rights instrument to which the EU and its Member States are parties. The Convention states that people with disabilities ‘include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society [and professional life] on an equal basis with others.’ Chronic disease is a health problem that requires ongoing management over a period of years or decades, implying that it is a condition that is recurrent, long-lasting, persistent or cannot be cured (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis or mental health problems).
Discrimination at work
Discrimination at work is defined in EU legislation as different treatment of individuals or groups in the workplace, based on arbitrary ascriptive or acquired criteria such as sex, race, religion, age, marital or parental status, disability, sexual orientation, political opinions, socioeconomic background, and trade union membership and activities. The prohibition of discrimination in the sphere of employment and industrial relations in the EU began with the principle of equal pay for women and men in Article 119 of the EEC Treaty of 1957 (now Article 157 TFEU). Elaboration of the concept of discrimination by the European Court of Justice has led to clarification of its meanings, which have been used in various directives. Equal opportunities is one of the main principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

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E

ECS
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) is a representative survey of establishments carried out every four to five years since 2004. The survey is conducted in the languages of the country with the manager responsible for human resources in the establishment and, where possible, with an employee representative. Topics covered have included working time and work organisation, HRM practices, skills use, direct employee participation and social dialogue. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Establishment Survey on Working Time and Work–Life Balance (ESWT). It was carried out again in 2009, 2013 and 2019 under the present name. The ECS 2019 is a joint effort with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). The geographical coverage of the survey has increased following EU enlargement.
EMCO (Employment Committee of the European Commission)
The Employment Committee (EMCO) is the main advisory committee for Employment and Social Affairs Ministers in the Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO), one of 10 so-called ‘configurations’ of the Council of the European Union. EMCO was created in 2000 and operates within the policy framework of the European employment strategy (EES). The Committee meets regularly throughout the year, holding frequent discussions with the European social partners. It also meets regularly with other related committees to discuss issues of joint interest. EMCO has two sub-groups: the policy analysis group, which provides evidence-based advice to underpin EMCO work and debate, and the indicators group, which works on the indicators used in monitoring the EES.
Enlargement
Enlargement refers to the process of accession of new Member States to the European Union, as provided for in Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Conditions of admission and any transition periods have to be agreed between the existing Member States and the applicant state. There have been successive waves of enlargement since the EU was founded in 1957 with six members (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands). More western European countries joined in 1973 (Denmark, Ireland, UK), then 1981 (Greece), 1986 (Spain and Portugal) and 1995 (Austria, Finland, Sweden). Then 10 central and eastern European countries joined in 2004 marking a historic enlargement – the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and Croatia in 2013. New countries seeking to join the EU must first become official candidates for EU membership before entering into formal membership negotiations.
Employability
Employability refers to the set of skills, abilities and characteristics held by an individual which make that person able to gain and maintain employment. Employability has gained greater prominence as a term, as national governments have moved away from policies designed towards employment in favour of promoting the employability of citizens; a shift from demand side to supply side policy.
Employee representation
Employee representation may be defined as the right of employees to seek a union or individual to represent them for the purpose of negotiating with management on such issues as wages, hours, benefits and working conditions. In the workplace, workers may be represented by trade unions and through works councils, or similar structures elected by all employees. Representation structures may also be comprised of non-union forums. EU law has established rights and obligations for employees and their representatives to be informed and consulted via a set of directives that provide for the information and consultation of the workers, at both national and international level.
Employment relationship
The employment relationship refers to the economic and social relationship between buyers and sellers of labour. It has a number of dimensions. First, it is an economic exchange but also forms the basis of a social relationship, in which worker and employer accept mutual obligations and commitment. Second, it is both a market relationship, in which labour power or the capacity to work is exchanged for wages, and a work relationship, in which the employer uses that capacity in the production process. It is thus indeterminate, as only the capacity to work is purchased and this capacity must be managed so as to transform it into productive work. Finally, it is a relationship of subordination as workers accept the control and authority of the employer.
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship – often seen as characterised by innovation and risk-taking behaviour –may be defined as the capacity and willingness of individuals to develop, organise and manage a business venture, along with any of its risks, in order to make a profit. The European Commission wishes to encourage the growth of enterprises and foster entrepreneurship in order to stimulate economic growth and job creation and entrepreneurship thus features in the Europe 2020 strategy. This acknowledges that work needs to be done to improve access to the single market for small businesses and to develop and support entrepreneurship. The Commission’s Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, adopted in January 2013, is the blueprint for action to unleash Europe’s entrepreneurial potential.
EU15
The EU15 refers to the 15 Member States in the European Union prior to the accession of 10 central and eastern candidate countries on 1 May 2004. The EU15 comprised the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
EU-OSHA
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) was established in 1994 to inform policy to help make Europe’s workplaces safer, healthier and more productive. EU-OSHA develops, gathers and provides reliable and relevant information, analysis and tools to advance knowledge, raise awareness and exchange occupational safety and health (OSH) information and good practice which will serve the needs of those involved in OSH.
Europe 2020
Europe 2020 is the EU’s growth strategy for 2010 to 2020. Its aim is to help the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. It is the successor to the EU’s Lisbon Strategy, which ran from 2000 to 2010. The Europe 2020 strategy contains five concrete objectives, including an employment rate of 75% of 20-64-year-olds and at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion. These objectives are translated into national targets so that Member States can monitor their progress towards these goals. Europe 2020 also outlines seven flagship initiatives, including the ‘new agenda for skills and jobs’.
European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), set up by the European Commission in 2007, provides support to people losing their jobs as a result of major structural changes due to globalisation. The EGF has a maximum annual budget of €150 million for the period 2014–2020. In general, the EGF can be used only where over 500 workers are made redundant by a single company, or if a large number of workers are laid off in a particular sector in one or more neighbouring regions. It can fund up to 60% of the cost of projects designed to help redundant workers find another job or set up their own business. EGF cases are managed and implemented by national or regional authorities, with each project running for two years. The rules on intervention criteria, eligible beneficiaries, eligible actions, applications and so on are set out in the EGF Regulation (EU) No. 1309/2013.
European Industrial Relations Dictionary
The European Industrial Relations Dictionary is an online reference tool hosted by Eurofound and receives updates annually. It contains more than 350 entries for the most common terms in employment and industrial relations. The entries compromise concise definitions, any relevant contextual definitions and links to EU legislation and case law. The dictionary is produced by acknowledged subject experts and is intended as a resource for policymakers, practitioners and those interested in the history and structures of the European Union.
European Jobs Monitor
Eurofound’s European Jobs Monitor (EJM) uses data, primarily drawn from the European Labour Force Survey, to track structural change in European labour markets. It describes shifts in employment at Member State and EU level, analysing changes in terms of occupation and sector and the implications for job quality. The methodology used is an adaptation of that developed in the USA in the 1990s by Joseph Stiglitz, Erik Olin Wright and Rachel Dwyer. Jobs are classified by sector and occupation and are then ranked according to mean hourly wage. Shifts in the employment structure are analysed in terms of occupation and sector and the method gives a qualitative assessment of these shifts using various proxies of job quality – wages, skill-levels, etc. The EJM covers all EU Member States.
European Labour Authority
The European Commission first announced the establishment of a European Labour Authority (ELA) in September 2017, with a remit to ensure that EU rules on labour mobility be enforced fairly and effectively. It is intended that the ELA will be functioning by 2019 and reach full operational capacity by 2023. The role of the ELA will be to facilitate access for individuals and employers to information on their rights and obligations, as well as to relevant services; to support cooperation between EU countries in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating joint inspections; and mediate and facilitate a solution in cases of cross-border disputes between national authorities or labour market disruptions. The establishment of the ELA forms part of the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
European Pillar of Social Rights
The EU institutions jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights in November 2017. The initiative sets out 20 principles aimed at ‘delivering new and effective rights for citizens’. The Social Pillar’s key principles are structured around three categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; and social protection and inclusion. The Pillar serves as the EU’s compass for achieving better living and working conditions.
European platform against poverty and social exclusion
The European platform against poverty and social exclusion is a broad umbrella, covering a wide range of topics, designed to help EU countries reach the headline target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. The European Commission launched the platform in 2010 as a flagship initiative of the 10-year Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It provides the basis for a joint commitment among national governments, EU institutions and key stakeholders to combat poverty and social exclusion, focusing on the policy objectives set out in the Commission’s Social Investment Package issued in 2013.
European Restructuring Monitor
Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) collects information about companies affected by large-scale restructuring processes and the impact of restructuring on employment, and is comprised of four databases.
  • Since 2002, the restructuring events database has monitored the employment impact of large-scale restructuring events. It covers all EU Member States plus Norway.
  • The database of national support instruments for restructuring, introduced in 2011, holds information on national schemes that can be used by companies or workers affected by restructuring.
  • The database of restructuring-related legislation, added in 2013, gives an overview of national statutory legislation relevant in the context of restructuring, for example definitions of collective dismissal and dismissal procedures or information/consultation requirements in restructuring.
  • The restructuring case studies database, launched in 2015, contains more than 200 examples of how private sector and public sector employers anticipate and manage restructuring
     
  • EMCC: European Restructuring Monitor
European Semester
The European Semester is an annual framework, launched in 2010 as part of the EU’s governance framework, providing for the coordination of economic and fiscal policy within the EU in line with both the Stability and Growth Pact and the Europe 2020 strategy. It allows EU countries to discuss their economic and budget plans and monitor progress at specific times throughout the year. In consultation with the national social partners, EU Member States draw up National Reform Programmes, which detail actions on issues such as employment and social inclusion. The European Commission then undertakes an annual detailed analysis of each country’s plans for budget, macroeconomic and structural reforms and provides them with country-specific recommendations for the next 12–18 months.
European Social Fund
The European Social Fund (ESF) is the EU’s financial instrument designed to support employment in the EU Member States and to support social and economic cohesion. It invests in programmes for education, skills and lifelong learning, intended to increase human capital of workers and support them in accessing better jobs.
The four thematic objectives for the 2014–2020 period are:
  • Promoting employment and supporting labour mobility
  • Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty
  • Investing in education, skills and lifelong learning
  • Enhancing institutional capacity and an efficient public administration

  • European Commission: European Social Fund
European Training Foundation (ETF)
The European Training Foundation (ETF) is the European Union agency supporting countries to develop through learning. Established in 1994, the ETF helps transition and developing countries harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems, and in the context of the EU's external relations policy. It supports 29 partner countries bordering the EU to improve their vocational education and training systems, analyse skills needs and develop their labour markets. By doing so, the ETF helps these countries to improve social cohesion and achieve more sustainable economic growth, which in turn benefits Member States and their citizens by improving economic relations.
Eurostat
Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union located in Luxembourg. Its mission is to provide high-quality statistics for Europe. It promotes the harmonisation of statistical methods across the EU Member States to enable comparative work on key economic and social indicators at European level. The Member States collect, verify and analyse their national data and send them to Eurostat. Eurostat then consolidates the data, ensuring that they are comparable, using harmonised methodology. Data are available through various licensing arrangements for research purposes.
EU Youth Strategy
The EU Youth Strategy sets out a framework for cooperation with Member States on their youth policies for the period 2019–2027. The new Strategy was adopted at the Council of EU Youth Ministers in November 2018 and aims to tackle existing and new challenges young people are facing across Europe. Activities are grouped into three main areas of action, around the words ‘Engage’, ‘Connect’ and ‘Empower’. The new Strategy includes 11 European Youth Goals which were defined by young people from all over Europe working together to highlight issues that matter to them.
EWCS
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. The EWCS has been carried out approximately every five years since its launch in 1990. Its aims are to:
  • Assess and quantify working conditions of both employees and the self-employed across Europe on a harmonised basis
  • Analyse relationships between different aspects of working conditions
  • Identify groups at risk and issues of concern as well as of progress
  • Monitor trends by providing homogeneous indicators on these issues
  • Contribute to European policy development in particular on quality of work and employment issues.

The scope of the study has widened since it started in 1990 and the themes covered include employment status, working time duration and work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, as well as work and health. Data collection for the seventh edition of the EWCS in 2020 covers 37 European countries. 

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F

Foundation Forum
The Foundation Forum is Eurofound’s flagship event and takes place every four years. It is designed to provide a high-level forum for debate and discussion of key social policy issues facing EU Member States. The Forum brings together high-level policymakers in the field of social, employment and work-related policies. The theme of the Foundation Forum 2017 was various perspectives of convergence in Europe, namely upward convergence in living and working conditions, including employment.
Future of work
Future of work debates focus on how mega-trends such as globalisation, technological progress, demographic and societal change, as well as climate change/the transition to a low carbon economy, have the potential to fundamentally alter the nature of work. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) argues that these trends are likely to affect both the quantity and quality of available jobs, as well as how and by whom they are carried out. While the associated changes may offer opportunities (such as increased flexibility and widened labour market participation), they also lead to significant challenges (in terms of impact on social protection systems, representation and social dialogue, and suitability of labour regulations). In advanced economies, fears around vast unemployment and deepening inequality, caused by automation and globalisation, have been raised. Moreover, emerging forms of work are prompting concerns about the quality of future jobs.

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G

Gender employment gap
The gender employment gap is the difference between the employment rates of men and women aged 20 to 64, as defined by Eurostat. The employment rate is calculated by dividing the number of persons aged 20 to 64 in employment by the total population of the same age group. The gender employment gap varies significantly across Member States.
Gender equality
Gender equality refers to equality between women and men with respect to their rights, treatment, opportunities, and economic and social achievements. Gender equality is achieved when men and women have the same rights and opportunities across all sections of society and when the different interests, needs and priorities of men and women are equally valued.
Gender equality strategy
The gender equality strategy frames the European Commission’s work on gender equality. It sets out the policy objectives and key actions for 2020–2025, following on from the Commission’s 2016–2019 strategic engagement for gender equality. The new strategy aims to achieve a gender-equal Europe where gender-based violence, discrimination and structural inequality are things of the past.
Gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is the difference in earnings between men and women. The unadjusted gender pay gap is defined by Eurostat as the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women expressed as a percentage of the average gross hourly earnings of men. It is calculated for enterprises with 10 or more employees.

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I

Inclusive labour markets
An inclusive labour market is one that allows and encourages all people of working age to participate in paid work and provides a framework for their development. The cultivation of a more inclusive labour market is a policy objective of the European Commission, with the Europe 2020 Strategy containing a number of targets in this arena. Linked to this, the European Employment Strategy also focuses on the creation of more and better jobs throughout the EU. The cross-sector EU-level social partners’ framework agreement of 25 March 2010 similarly identifies a number of actions required in building more inclusive labour markets.
Industrial democracy
Eurofound defines industrial democracy as a participatory and democratic process which encompasses the participation rights of employers and employees in the governance of employment relationships, either directly or indirectly, via trade unions, works councils, shop stewards or other forms of employee representation at any level (shop floor, establishment, company, sectoral, regional and cross-industry).
Industrial policy
Industrial policy refers to strategic efforts by the state to encourage the development and growth of a sector of the economy. More specifically, it is any type of intervention or government policy aimed at improving the business environment or to alter the structure of economic activity towards sectors, technologies or tasks. Such interventions are expected to offer better prospects for economic growth or societal welfare than would otherwise occur.
Industrial relations
Industrial relations is a term with two principal meanings. First, it refers to the actions of trade unions and their relations with employers and government. Second, it refers to an academic field of study, which focuses upon the institutions and processes of job regulation. In this sense, industrial relations pertains to the study of the employment relationship and its management and regulation. It thus encompasses aspects such as management strategy, work organisation, work practices, employee participation and state regulation.
Inequality
Inequality is the state of not being equal, particularly in outcomes such as social status, wealth, rights and opportunities. Studies of inequality focus on the differences in these aspects found between people or groups, with one perspective explaining outcome disparities in terms of inequality of opportunities. This focuses on the circumstances beyond one’s control (for example, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, age and disability) that affect potential outcomes. It is argued that equality of opportunity can only exist when outcomes depend only on factors for which persons can be considered responsible, and not on disadvantageous attributes outside of their control. Practically, it exists when individuals are compensated in some way for their disadvanta¬geous circumstances.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN), which deals with labour issues. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. Founded in 1919, it is the only tripartite UN agency, which brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 Member States, so as to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes that promote decent work for all women and men.
Investment Plan for Europe
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the EU has experienced low levels of investment and thus, coordinated efforts at European level are deemed necessary to reverse this and stimulate economic recovery. In furtherance of this, the Investment Plan for Europe (the so-called Juncker Plan) was devised. The Plan has three objectives: to remove obstacles to investment; to provide visibility and technical assistance to investment projects; and to make smarter use of financial resources. The Plan encompasses the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which aims to mobilise private investment, as well as the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal, which provide technical assistance and promote investment opportunities.

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L

Labour market change
Labour market change refers to labour market adjustments to structural change. Various labour market outcomes can be used to assess labour market change, such as working conditions, levels of job creation, levels of labour market participation, changes in occupations and tasks, as well as changes in employment relations.
Labour market participation
Labour market participation refers to individuals being either in work or seeking work. Labour market participation is often expressed as a proportion or rate, whereby the total number in the labour force is expressed as a proportion of the working age population (usually people aged 15–64).
Labour market policies
Labour market policies is the collective term to refer to the generic set of policies which are used usually by governments and are aimed at influencing the operation of and outcomes in the labour market. Such policies might cover the substantive areas of industrial relations, policies which regulate the setting of wages, training, education and programmes which are designed to assist those who are unemployed and economically inactive in accessing labour market opportunities.
Leave
Leave is the umbrella term for an employee’s authorised absence from work, encompassing annual leave, sick leave, maternity, paternity and parental leave, as well as special leave. It may also include unpaid leave, granted on a discretionary basis and conferred following an employee request. Employees can also avail of training or sabbatical leave. As leave – as opposed to unauthorised absence – is permitted, the employee retains their employment status.
Leave: Annual leave
Annual leave is the paid time off from work to which all employees are entitled during each working year. Article 7 of the Working Time Directive (Council Directive 2003/88/EC), which ‘lays down minimum safety and health requirements for the organisation of working time’, stipulates a period of paid annual leave of at least four weeks for all employees.
Leave: Maternity leave
Maternity leave is a period of time taken off work by an expectant mother to cover the birth of her child, and this may be with pay. The leave period commences some time before the birth and ends some weeks afterwards, when the mother returns to work. Some Member States use the term ‘maternity leave’ also for periods of leave which are available to fathers, or subsume the term under ‘parental leave’.
Leave: Parental leave
Parental leave is a period of longer-term leave from work available to either or both parents, to allow them to look after an infant or young child, usually after maternity or paternity leave expires.
Leave: Paternity leave
Paternity leave is a leave period – paid or unpaid - reserved for fathers usually around the birth of a child. It is separate to parental leave provisions that can be used by the father or mother, and parts of maternity leave entitlements that the mother can transfer to the father. Some Member States may provide such individual periods for fathers under the term ‘parental leave’ or ‘childcare leave’.
Leave: Sick leave
Sick leave may be defined as permitted absence from work and performance of regular duties because of an employee's bona fide illness or injury. Similarly, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that sick leave is something that is ‘given to the worker so that he can recover from being ill.’ Sick leave may be paid under the terms of an occupational scheme or via a statutory scheme, which is typically funded through social insurance payments.
Leave: Special leave
Special leave is a general term used to describe time off given by managers for a range of circumstances, such as domestic emergencies or public service duties. It is a request for time off work, either paid or unpaid, and is given in addition to annual leave. It may be planned (for example, for an employee to attend jury service or other public duties) or unplanned (for example, in response to a family emergency/bereavement).
Living conditions
Living conditions are the circumstances or factors affecting the way in which people live, particularly with regard to their well-being. The term ‘living conditions’ is closely related to that of ‘quality of life.’ The latter is the degree to which an individual is healthy, comfortable and able to participate in or enjoy life events. The term ‘quality of life’ then can refer to both the experience an individual has of his or her own life and to the living conditions in which individuals find themselves. It should also be noted that upward social convergence, that is improving living standards, working conditions and economic outcomes across Member States, is a principal goal of the EU.

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M

Memorandum of understanding
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a non-binding agreement between two or more parties, which expresses a convergence of will between the parties. It outlines the terms and details of an understanding for shared activities and cooperation, including each parties' requirements and responsibilities. An MOU is often the first stage in the creation of a formal contract.
Mobility package
The European Parliament definitively adopted the ‘mobility package’ on 9 July 2020. The mobility package consists of three legislative texts that are intended to improve the working conditions of lorry drivers and reduce the risk of unfair competition in the road transport sector.

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N

NEETs
NEET is an acronym for ‘not in employment, education or training’, used to refer to the situation of many young persons, aged between 15 and 29, in Europe. The acronym first emerged in the UK in the late 1980s. Since then, interest in the NEET group has grown at EU policy level, and NEET-equivalent definitions have been created in most Member States. The aim of the NEET concept is to broaden understanding of the vulnerable status of young people and to better monitor their problematic access to the labour market.
New forms of employment
This is the umbrella term for the more diversified forms of employment that are emerging or have been gaining importance since about 2000. Thus, alongside the traditional employment relationships, a number of new forms of work are emerging. These are characterised by changing working patterns, contractual relationships, places, duration and schedule of work, increased use of information and communication technologies (ICT), or a combination of those. The need for flexibility can be driven by employers to cope with increasingly competitive economic environments, but also by workers to balance work with private life and other commitments.
New forms of employment: Casual work
Casual work is ‘work which is irregular or intermittent with no expectation of continuous employment’, as defined by the European Parliament.’ It is a type of work where the employment is not stable and continuous, and the employer is not obliged to regularly provide the worker with work, but has the flexibility of calling them in on demand, with workers’ prospects of getting such work dependent on fluctuations in the employers’ workload. Casual work is typically characterised by low income, job insecurity, poor social protection and little or no access to human resources benefits.
New forms of employment: Collaborative employment
Collaborative employment is where freelancers, the self-employed or micro enterprises cooperate in some way to overcome limitations of size and professional isolation. Eurofound research into new forms of employment identified the following types of collaborative employment: umbrella organisations, which offer specific administrative services such as invoicing clients or dealing with tax issues; co-working, involving the sharing of work space and back-office and support tasks; and cooperatives, which are jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises characterised by intensive cooperation among the members in the fields of production, marketing and strategic management.
New forms of employment: Employee sharing
Employee sharing may be strategic or ad hoc. Strategic employee sharing is an innovative form of cooperative HR management, where a group of employers forms a network that hires one or several workers to be sent on individual work assignments with the participating employer companies. Workers regularly rotate among the employers and work exclusively for them, but the network itself does not aim to make a profit. Ad hoc employee sharing is a tool for dealing with temporary crisis situations within individual companies where an employer that temporarily cannot provide work for its staff sends them to work at another company. The employment contract between the initial employer and the worker is maintained while the worker is incorporated into the work organisation of the receiving employer. The intention is that the placement is temporary and the worker will return to work with the initial employer.
New forms of employment: ICT-based mobile work
ICT-based mobile work refers to work arrangements carried out at least partly, but regularly, outside the ‘main office’, be that the employer’s premises or a customised home office, using information and communication technologies (ICT) for online connection to shared company computer systems. Work thus takes place wherever and at any time it suits the work activities, task, business schedule and lifestyle of the worker, not necessarily at a specific place but also ‘on the road.’ Consequently, ICT-based mobile work takes place in ever-changing situations, but with a need to collaborate with other workers or clients, hence the requirement to be connected to shared resources to achieve a joint goal.
New forms of employment: Interim management
Interim management is where a company ‘leases out’ workers to other companies temporarily and for a specific purpose. Interim managers are highly specialised experts who are expected to solve a specific management or technical challenge or assist in economically difficult times. Receiving companies thus often use interim managers in times of crisis or restructuring or to strategically prepare for company growth, innovation or diversification. Such companies are looking for temporary additional management capacity to achieve a specific objective and an interim manager gives access to specialist knowledge without long-term commitments.
New forms of employment: Job sharing
Job sharing refers to employment relationships in which one employer hires several workers, but normally just two, to jointly fill a single full-time position. It is a form of part-time work, where the purpose is to ensure that the shared job is permanently staffed. The job sharers are a group formed by the employer as opposed to a self-constituted employee group. In some countries, job sharers have their own individual contracts of employment while sharing the pay and benefits of a full-time job on a pro rata basis. In other countries, job sharing is based on a single contract including two or more workers.
Job sharing should not be confused with work sharing, with the latter corresponding to the short-term reduction in working hours to spread work among workers, often used as an alternative to job losses.
New forms of employment: Platform work
Platform work uses an online platform to enable organisations or individuals to access other organisations or individuals to solve specific problems or to provide specific services in exchange for payment. It is work based on the performance of individual tasks or projects rather than a continuous employment relationship. A larger task is usually divided up into smaller subtasks, or ‘micro tasks’, that are independent, homogenous and produce a specific output. These tasks are carried out separately, resulting in a widespread, even global, division of tasks. 
New forms of employment: Portfolio work
Portfolio work in Eurofound’s research is understood as small-scale contracting by freelancers, the self-employed or micro-enterprises who work for a large number of clients simultaneously. The main features of portfolio work are that it is self-managed, income-generating work which can span across industries. Moreover, portfolio workers undertake a range of work that is not dependent on any single organisation and as such, it requires continuous adaptation to different work situations and clients’ requirements.
New forms of employment: Voucher-based work
Voucher-based work is a form of employment relation where an employer acquires a voucher from a third party (typically a governmental authority) to be used as payment for a service from a worker, as opposed to cash. Vouchers cover both pay and social security contributions. The services provided are often specific tasks or fixed-term assignments. Eurofound’s research on new forms of employment identified the emergence of voucher-based work mainly within household services and agriculture. Concentration in these two sectors has occurred because they are often core areas of undeclared work, and such systems aim to provide a tool for formalisation of the activity, and especially simplifying the process of hiring a worker by either private households or farmers.
New Skills Agenda for Europe
The European Commission adopted the new Skills Agenda for Europe on 10 June 2016 which supports the common vision about the strategic important of skills for sustaining jobs, growth and competitiveness. It launched 10 priority actions to equip people in the European Union with the right training, skills and support. The 10 actions are centred around 3 key work strands: improving the quality and relevance of training and other ways of acquiring skills; making skills and qualifications more visible and comparable; improving information and understanding of trends and patterns in demands for skills and jobs (skills intelligence) to enable people to make better career choices.
Night work
      Night work describes any work carried out during night time, where the worker concerned works at least three hours of his or her daily working time as a normal course, as laid down in Article 2(4)(a) of Directive 2003/88/EC. Normal hours of work for night workers should not exceed an average of eight hours in any 24-hour period. ‘Night time’ is defined in Article 2(3) as ‘any period of not less than seven hours, as defined by national law, and which must include in any case the period between midnight and 05:00.’ Collective bargaining also plays a role in defining night workers, as Article 2(4)(b) states that a ‘night worker’ is any worker who is likely, during night time, to work a certain proportion of his or her annual working time, as defined at the choice of the Member State concerned: (i) by national legislation, following consultation with the two sides of industry, or (ii) by collective agreements or agreements concluded between the two sides of industry at national or regional levels.
      • European Industrial Relations Dictionary: Night work

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      O

      OECD
      The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences on what drives economic, social and environmental change, as well as seek solutions to common problems. It promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It devises evidence-based policies designed to improve the quality of people’s lives, based on the conduct of research and analysis and through working with governments, business, labour and other civil society organisations. The OECD was established in 1961 and is headquartered in Paris. Currently, it has 36 member countries and has a secretariat staff of 2,500. It compiles around 250 new research reports annually.
      Offshoring
      Offshoring refers to the transfer of a productive activity from one country to another. The rationale for the process is usually cost reduction, where the business transfers from a higher labour cost location to a lower labour cost location.
      • European Industrial Relations Dictionary: Offshoring
      Outsourcing
      Outsourcing (sometimes called contracting out) refers to the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to undertake work which had previously been performed by the company’s own employees. Tasks or services can be provided by the external service provider either at the hiring company’s own facilities or offsite at external locations and can therefore affect a wide range of jobs. Motives for the practice might include cost-cutting, improving quality and freeing up internal resources.

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      P

      Participation at work
      Participation at work refers to mechanisms for employees to be involved in managerial decision-making other than via information and consultation. Participation may be ‘direct’ and therefore based on interactions between employees and managers, or ‘indirect’ based on representation through trade unions or non-union forums. Employee involvement refers to the opportunities for employees to take part in decisions that affect their work, either in their immediate job (task discretion) or in relation to wider company issues (workplace social dialogue). It is often used synonymously with the term ‘direct participation’. Employee involvement underlies workplace innovation and diverse notions of new forms of work organisation, such as high performance or learning organisations.
      Pay
      Pay is fundamental to the employment relationship, as workers exchange their labour power in return for payment from employers. Pay is essentially a transaction – an employer pays a determined sum in exchange for generally-specified time, skills, inputs, commitment and loyalty. However, pay also confers status and is a key determinant of a person’s standard of living. It is also likely to be a discriminator according to gender and social class, and is one of the main influences on the degree to which people value their employment.
      Pay: Living wage
      A living wage has been defined as ‘a measure of income that allows an employee a basic but socially acceptable stardard of living’ in the society in which they live. Advocates of a living wage calculate its level by estimating the expenditure that is required for a ‘basic but decent standard of living’. Living wage initiatives have tended to arise in locations where high living costs and limited social provision make existing wage protections (for example, statutory or collectively agreed minimum wages) inadequate in ensuring a liveable income for those on low pay.
      Posted workers
      A posted worker is ‘a person who, for a limited period of time, carries out his or her work in the territory of an EU Member State other than the state in which he or she normally works’ (Posting of Workers Directive 96/71/EC). Directive 96/71 only takes employees into consideration. The 2014 Enforcement Directive was adopted with the aim of strengthening the practical application by addressing issues related to fraud, circumvention of rules, inspections and monitoring, joint liability in subcontracting chains and exchange of information between Member States. Different regulations apply to individuals moving across European countries who do not meet the directive’s criteria for posted workers, such as migrant workers, sailors in the merchant navy and the self-employed.
      Precarious work
      Precarious work is often defined as the intersection of three characteristics: vulnerable employees, insecure jobs and few entitlements to income support. More broadly, however, all forms of employment could be at risk of poor working conditions and insecurity. Although there is no universally accepted definition, the European Parliament defines precarious employment as 'employment which does not comply with EU, international and national standards and laws and/or does not provide sufficient resources for a decent life or adequate social protection'. Precarious jobs fail to give workers what a ‘good job’ should: skills recognition and improvement, as well as adequate resources – especially financial – with a view to making ends meet and developing employability.
      Public services
      A public service is a service which is organised and provided by government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus (usually expressed through democratic elections) that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income, physical ability or mental acuity. Even where public services are neither publicly provided nor publicly financed, for social and political reasons they are usually subject to regulation going beyond that applying to most economic sectors. Examples of public services include healthcare, emergency services, education, social care, housing, transport and refuse collection.

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      R

      Representativeness
      Representativeness is the term used by the European Commission in determining the legitimate participants in social dialogue, provided for under Articles 154/155 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). To qualify, organisations must relate to specific sectors or categories and be organised at the European Level, have member organisations that are recognised and an integral part of a Member State’s social partnership structure with the capacity to negotiate agreements, and have adequate structures to ensure effective participation in consultation processes.
      Reshoring
      Reshoring is the opposite process to offshoring; a productive activity is transferred back to the location or region from which it was originally offshored. Reasons for reshoring may include rising offshore labour costs, transport costs, the inability of offshore production sites to ensure product quality and consistency or the advantages of co-location of research, design and production activities.
      Restructuring
      Restructuring is the umbrella term to refer to a wide range of different processes which lead to the reorganisation of a business enterprise. Restructuring may have consequences for the levels of employment and/or the terms and conditions offered to workers. Eurofound’s work describes eight different types of restructuring: relocation, outsourcing, offshoring or delocalisation, bankruptcy or closure, merger or acquisition, internal restructuring, business expansion, or a restructuring that does not fit any of the above.
      Retirement
            Retirement occurs when a person leaves employment because their normal working life has come to an end. It usually occurs because an individual has reached the contractual age for retirement (although individuals may take early retirement before this). A worker can also choose to semi-retire by reducing their workload or working hours. Others may retire and decide to take up other work after retirement. The state retirement age influences the age of retirement in many contracts of employment.
            Retirement: Early retirement
            Early retirement occurs when a person leaves employment before the contractual retirement age. Early retirement may be taken on medical grounds or as an alternative to redundancy.

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            S

            Shift work
            Shift work involves a regular work schedule during which an enterprise is operational or provides services beyond normal working hours and where different crews of workers succeed each other at the same work site to perform the same operations. Shift work usually involves work across three segments: early morning, late shifts and night shifts. Often, employees will rotate across these shifts from week to week, although in some organisations employees are on fixed shifts for longer periods, or even permanently.
            • European Industrial Relations Dictionary: Shift work
            Short-time work
            Short-time work (STW) schemes are defined in a 2020 European Commission regulation proposal as ‘public programmes that allow firms experiencing economic difficulties to temporarily reduce the hours worked while providing their employees with income support from the State for the hours not worked’.
            Skills and training
            ‘Skill’ has various meanings. At the level of the individual, it means the person’s current level of competence or performance at a certain task; alternatively, it refers to a task a person can perform to a satisfactory level. The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) defines skills as the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. Skills can be described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments). At national level, policymakers refer to the skill levels of a population; the level, type and numbers of qualifications are typically used as proxies for the skill level of a given population. Training is the process of enhancing employees’ skills, attitudes and knowledge so as to improve competence levels. Vocational training, including apprenticeships, may also constitute part of the publicly provided education system.
            SMEs
            Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined according to their numbers of employees, turnover, balance sheet total and independence. Since 2003, the European Commission has defined medium-sized enterprises as employing fewer than 250 people with an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet not exceeding €43 million. Small enterprises are defined as employing fewer than 50 people and with an annual turnover and/or balance sheet not in excess of €10 million. Micro enterprises employ fewer than 10 people and have an annual turnover and/or balance sheet total not exceeding €2 million. SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the EU.
            Social dialogue
            Social dialogue can include all types of negotiation, consultation or information exchange between representatives of government, employers and workers on issues relating to economic and social policies and practices. It can be tripartite with government involved in the process of dialogue, or bipartite with discussions taking place between management and labour.
            Social dialogue: European social dialogue
            European social dialogue refers to social dialogue which takes place at the European level. As for social dialogue, the form may be bipartite or tripartite. In the case of the former, this takes place between European employers and trade union organisations at a cross-industry level within sectoral social dialogue committees.
            Social dumping
            There is no universally accepted definition of ‘social dumping’, despite this being a much-debated issue. Across definitions, two key aspects emerge: downward pressure on social conditions and unfair competition on the basis of lowered costs. Thus, it may occur domestically from cost pressures due to competition from countries with lower social conditions. Within public discourse, the term primarily refers to international, cross-border situations. In the context of posting of workers, the European Commission describes the practice as a situation ‘where foreign service providers can undercut local service providers because their labour standards are lower.’
            Social exclusion
            The European Commission (COM (92) 542) describes social exclusion as the result of ‘mechanisms whereby individuals and groups are excluded from taking part in the social exchanges, from the component practices and rights of social integration and of identity.’ Social exclusion has complex and multidimensional causes, including unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low income, poor housing, high crime, ill-health and family breakdown. When such problems combine, they can create a vicious cycle of deep and long-lasting problems for individual families, for the economy, and for society as a whole.
            Social inclusion
            Social inclusion is a process that ensures citizens have the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live. It encompasses, but is not restricted to, social integration or better access to the labour market, and also includes equal access to facilities, services and benefits. It is a concept that is now central to the European policy agenda.
            Social Investment Package
            The European Commission Social Investment Package gives guidance to Member States on more efficient and effective social policies in response to the significant challenges they face, such as high levels of financial distress, rising poverty and social exclusion, high unemployment and ageing societies. It is an integrated policy framework which takes account of the social, economic and budgetary divergences between EU Member States. The Package, issued in 2013, calls on Member States to prioritise social investment (through skill enhancement and other supports for people’s participation in both the labour market and society) and active inclusion measures, as well as focus on growth and social cohesion, and the more effective use of social budgets. The Package also focuses on ensuring that social protection systems respond to people’s needs at critical moments throughout their lives. The Commission monitors the social protection systems of Member States through the European Semester process and offers country-specific recommendations where necessary.
            Social partners
            ‘Social partners’ is a term generally used in Europe to refer to representatives of management and labour (employer organisations and trade unions), and in some contexts public authorities, that engage in social dialogue. Primary EU law refers to the concept of ‘social partners’ for the first time in Article 152 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
            Social partners: European social partners
            The European social partners are the EU-level employer organisations and trade unions that are engaged in European social dialogue, as provided for under Articles 154 and 155 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Primary EU law refers to the concept of ‘social partners’ for the first time in Article 152 of the TFEU. The European Commission uses ‘representativeness’ criteria in order to identify the social partner organisations with the right to be consulted under Article 154. These organisations must relate to specific sectors or categories and be organised at the European Level, consist of organisations that are a recognised and integral part of a Member State’s social partnership structure with the capacity to negotiate agreements, and have adequate structures to ensure effective participation in consultation processes.
            Social policies
            Social policies are the range of policies which governments use for welfare and social protection. Social policies then consist of guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare.
            Social protection
            Social protection systems exist to protect people against the risks of loss of income associated with unemployment, ill-health and invalidity, parental responsibilities, old age or following the loss of a spouse or parent. The organisation and financing of social protection systems lies with EU Member States. Nevertheless, the EU has a particular role in ensuring, through EU legislation coordinating national social security systems, that people who move across borders and hence come within the remit of different social protection systems are adequately protected. Such legislation mainly concerns statutory social security schemes.
            Stress at work
            Stress has been defined as a state, which is accompanied by physical, psychological or social complaints or dysfunctions, which results from individuals feeling unable to bridge a gap with the requirements or expectations placed on them at work. Work-related stress can be caused by various factors, including work content, work organisation, work environment or poor communication. Stress is not a disease but prolonged exposure to it may reduce effectiveness at work and may lead to ill-health.
            Subsidiarity
            The principle of subsidiarity is defined in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). It states: 'Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.'
            SURE initiative
            The SURE initiative (Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency) was presented by the European Commission on 2 April 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a financial instrument, allowing Member States to access loans at advantageous rates to finance a system of short-time work (STW) or support for the self-employed. According to the proposal, STW schemes are: ‘public programmes that allow firms experiencing economic difficulties to temporarily reduce the hours worked while providing their employees with income support from the State for the hours not worked.’
            Survey Mapping Tool
            Eurofound’s Survey Mapping Tool is an interactive data visualisation application. It allows the user to view and explore data from Eurofound’s three European-wide surveys – the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) and the European Company Survey (ECS). Data can be viewed in a number of different chart and graph options as well as in tabular form.
            Sustainable work
            Sustainable work means that working and living conditions are such that they support people in engaging and remaining in work throughout an extended working life. Such a change in conditions would enable a fit between work and the characteristics or circumstances of the individual throughout their changing life, and such transformations must be developed through policies and practices at work and outside of work.

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            T

            Teleworking
            Teleworking refers to a form of organising and/or performing work, using information technology, in the context of an employment contract/relationship, where work, which could also be performed at the employer’s premises, is carried out away from those premises, on a regular basis. The characteristic feature of telework is the use of computers and telecommunications to change the usual location of work.

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            U

            Undeclared work
            Beyond national variations, at European level undeclared work involves ‘any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature but not declared to public authorities’. Common types include work carried out in a formal undertaking, which is partially or fully undeclared, and undeclared ‘own account’ or self-employed work.
            Upward convergence
            Upward convergence is defined as the improvement of the performance of EU Member States towards a policy target, combined with a reduction of disparities among them. Eurofound has provided a formal mathematical definition to allow the design of monitoring strategies and comparable analysis of the performance of Member States. Upward convergence, or moving closer together in an upward trajectory, is therefore the union of two concepts: an improvement in performance towards a desirable target; and convergence itself, reflecting a reduction of disparities in performance. The concept of performance improvement is ultimately related to a policy target: in other words, the desirable orientation of the indicator towards, for example, better living and working conditions. In the case of employment rates, upward convergence is observed when the indicator increases and disparities among countries decrease; for unemployment rates, upward convergence is observed when the indicator falls and disparities among countries decrease. As such, the concept of upward convergence is a normative concept related to a policy target or, alternatively, to a societal consensus on the desirable direction of the indicator. Eurofound monitors convergence among Member States in the following research areas: socioeconomic factors, employment, working conditions and living conditions.

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            W

            Work organisation
            Work organisation is about the division of labour, the coordination and control of work: how work is divided into job tasks, bundling of tasks into jobs and assignments, interdependencies between workers, and how work is coordinated and controlled in order to fulfil the goals of the organisation. It encompasses the tasks performed, who performs them and how they are performed in the process of making a product or providing a service. Work organisation thus refers to how work is planned, organised and managed within companies and choices on a range of aspects such as work processes, job design, responsibilities, task allocation, work scheduling, work pace, rules and procedures, and decision-making processes.
            Work–life balance
            Work–life balance is a term used to describe the division of an individual’s time between work and other spheres of life, as well as strain (for example, stress) that may spill over from work to life or vice versa. Various aspects of policy are directed towards ensuring individuals have a good work–life balance, where they are able to accommodate the demands of life inside and outside work. In April 2019, the European Parliament adopted the proposal for a new Directive on work–life balance for parents and carers.
            Working conditions
            Working conditions refer to the conditions in and under which work is performed. A working condition is a characteristic or a combination of characteristics of work that can be modified and improved. Current conceptions of working conditions incorporate considerations of wider factors, which may affect the employee psychosomatically. Thus, a broader definition of the term includes the economic dimension of work and effects on living conditions. Working conditions are a subject of labour law and are regulated by all of its various sources: legislation, collective agreements, works rules, the contract of employment, as well as custom and practice.
            Working hours
            Working hours are the period of time that an employee or worker is contracted to be present at a specified place of work and at the employer’s disposal. An employee’s regular working hours are typically those worked on a daily and/or weekly basis. Daily periods of rest, if the employee is free to leave the workplace at these times and travel time, if it does not constitute work performance itself, are not included in working hours.
            Working poor
            The European Commission defines the working poor as those who are employed and whose disposable income puts them at risk of poverty. Being employed is defined as being in work for over half of the year and ‘risk of poverty’ is defined as having an income below 60% of the national median. Income is measured in relation to the household in which a person lives and covers the income of all household members, which is shared equally among them after being adjusted for household size and composition. Factors contributing to working poverty are low pay, household characteristics, quality of employment and gender, and other individual characteristics.
            Working poor: In-work poverty
            In-work poverty is defined as individuals living in households where the household income is below the poverty threshold despite one member of the household working on either a full-time or part-time basis. The poverty threshold is defined as under 60% of the average household income (before housing costs).
            Working time
            The European Working Time Directive (Directive 2003/88/EC) defines working time as ‘any period during which the worker is working, at the employer's disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice’ (Article 2(1)). Rest periods are defined as ‘any period which is not working time.’ The Directive does not allow for any interim category.
            The Directive lays down provisions for a maximum 48-hour working week (including overtime), rest periods and breaks, and a minimum of four weeks’ paid leave per year, to protect workers from adverse health and safety risks. It applies to all sectors of activity, both public and private.

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            Y

            Youth
            Youth is the term used to describe the period between childhood and adulthood. While this may be a fluid definition, it is also used in policy terms to refer to specific age groups. For example, the Youth Guarantee is a policy which is aimed at all people under the age of 25.
            Youth Employment Initiative
            The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes. Under the latter, Member States should put in place measures to ensure that young people up to the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed. The YEI was launched to specifically provide support to young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and who are living in regions where youth unemployment is higher than 25%. Thus, it ensures that in parts of Europe where the challenges are most acute, young people can receive targeted support.

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