Communiqué May 2005

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Research in brief

Differences in holidays for workers in Europe

Agreed annual leave and public holidays vary hugely across the EU - from 44 days in Sweden to 28 days in Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia - a difference of over 50%, or more than three working weeks. Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malta and the Netherlands also have a high numbers of leave days per year, while other notably low-leave countries include Belgium, Hungary, Ireland and Latvia. The average figure for the EU15 and Norway is 36 days, while that for the new Member States is 30.8.

More information can be found on:

Annual leave and public holidays

Source: EIRO 2005


Slovenia boasts high levels of life satisfaction and optimism for the future

lovenes rate their overall life satisfaction higher than the average in the new Member States, Janez Drobnic, the Slovene Minister for Labour, Family and Social Affairs, was told at a briefing in Ljubljana on 23 May. The results also revealed that Slovenia is closer to the quality of life standards in the former EU15 than in the new Member States, with similar levels of economic deprivation and perception of housing standards. However, Slovenes aged 65 and over report lower subjective well-being and somewhat more material deprivation than younger people. The visit was part of the road show presenting the first results of the Foundation’s European Quality of Life Survey to all 28 countries surveyed.

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Focus on training and employability

Workers with permanent employment contracts are more likely to receive training (35%), which is paid for by the employer, than workers on fixed-term contracts (31%) or temporary agency workers (23%), according to Foundation research. As skills and occupational competencies are fundamental to employability, it is thus more difficult for employees with non-permanent work contracts to make the transition to the regular labour market or access new jobs and opportunities. A Foundation conference, organised in collaboration with the Luxembourg EU Presidency, on 21-22 June will explore this relationship between training and employability, focusing on fixed-term and temporary agency workers and the importance of training for work and for social inclusion.

More information can be found on

Changes in national collective bargaining systems

The decentralisation of collective bargaining processes over the past 15 years might lead to declining levels of coverage, and employee protection and participation, the latest EIRO comparative study argues. The report, which looks at changes in national collective bargaining systems since 1990, shows that two widely different models have emerged. On the one hand is the ‘European model’ with its strong multi-employer bargaining institutions in the former EU15 countries, characterised by its sectoral or intersectoral bargaining and relatively high bargaining coverage. On the other hand is the ‘American model’ with its comparatively weak bargaining institutions, which has the company as the predominant bargaining level and low bargaining coverage. This is present in the UK and to a somewhat less extent the new Member States. The report argues that employee protection and participation is at risk if countries do not develop comprehensive collective bargaining systems and that associations and trade unions thus need a supporting legal and political framework to do so.

Read the EIRO report online at

Promoting productivity and quality of work with workplace innovation

Innovation within companies has traditionally focused on product development and cost saving. However, the emergence of a knowledge economy will require employers and employees to develop new organisational work concepts, which are conducive to continuous learning and innovation across the entire organisation. The next EMCC company network seminar, which will be held in Bologna, Italy, on 27-28 June 2005 and will be co-hosted by the Fondazione Instituto per il Lavoro, will explore the relationship between new work organisational models in companies and their impact on productivity levels and human resources developments. EMCC argues that companies must realise that fostering human creativity, as well as investment in human resources and involving employees in strategic business developments, are key elements in guaranteeing sustainable business success.

More information about this seminar is available on

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