By making state funding for working time reductions contingent upon a company
agreement signed by majority trade unions or approval by a majority of the
employees, France's draft bill for a second law on the 35-hour week - issued
in summer 1999 - has brought the issue of unions' representative status to
the fore. Unions are split over the law's provisions on this issue.
The European Commission believes that, in order for social protection to be
sustainable and progress into the next century, a clear strategy needs to be
implemented by Member States, with whom responsibility for their respective
social protection systems ultimately lies. However, in a new Communication
entitled A concerted strategy for modernising social protection(COM (1999)
347) , issued on 14 July 1999, the Commission also recognises the
importance of developing a close dialogue between Member States and EU
institutions on the future of social protection systems. The Communication
follows up the 1997 Communication
In an unusual move, the first collective agreement of the 1999-2000
bargaining round covers about 50,000 salaried employees in crafts and trades,
excluding metalworking and the construction and timber sectors. From 1
January 2000, their minimum salaries will, on average, rise by 1.6%. The
lowest full-time annual gross salary will then be ATS 161,980. Actual
salaries may rise by less, since their increase is not specified in the
agreement. The deal was concluded between the Union of Salaried Employees
(Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA) and 30 trades associations of the
Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ).
In September 1999, the Finnish Metalworkers' Union announced its aim of
achieving a new incomes policy agreement to succeed the current national
deal, which expires in January 2000. The union has threatened a general
strike, if necessary, in the event that sector-specific problems in the
forestry and chemical industries, which form an obstacle to reaching an
overall national agreement, cannot be resolved.
A governmental committee chaired by special commissioner Hans Stark, a former
chief judge in the Labour Court, has been reviewing certain parts of the Act
concerning Equality between Men and Women (jämställdhetslagen, /1991:
433/). The review has primarily been conducted in order to achieve
harmonisation with EC equality law, and should also been seen in conjunction
with the three new Acts forbidding discrimination at work - covering
discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, sexual orientation and disability
- adopted in March 1999 (SE9903148F ). The issues that have been
considered by the committee include the nature of the ban on discrimination
set out in the Act, damages for victims of discrimination, wage surveys and
issues related to work evaluation.
In summer 1999, the Social Division of the Spanish Supreme Court ratified a
ruling by the Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia that found the Caixa de
Catalunya savings bank guilty of indirect discrimination against women.
France's second bill on the 35-hour week, under parliamentary discussion in
autumn 1999, will exclude many managerial and professional staff from the
regulations on the length of working time applicable to all employees. Their
maximum working time will be expressed as 217 days per year, with few
restrictions related to the number of hours worked. These measures have
provoked heated responses from the trade unions, which suggests that a lively
debate will ensue over this issue in parliament.
The first half of 1999 saw a substantial increase in the use of temporary
agency work in Italy. Projections estimate that by the end of the year the
number of temporary agency workers will stand at 200,000. Agency work is on
the agenda of the social dialogue between the government and social partners
in autumn 1999.
Over 1999, a committee of experts set up in February by the Dutch Minister of
Social Affairs and Employment has been examining possible reform of the law
governing dismissal. Although reform of dismissals law has been attempted
frequently in the past, the prevailing law has remained largely unchanged
over the last half century. Nonetheless, the law's application in practice
In a report published in September 1999, the Union of Industrial and
Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE) outlines its vision for social
Europe beyond 2000. The document, entitled "Releasing Europe's employment
potential - companies' views on European social policy beyond 2000,"
identifies unemployment as Europe's most fundamental economic and social
problem and sees competitiveness as one of the key solutions to economic and
social challenges, arguing that this should therefore be the underlying
concern throughout EU policy. UNICE states that, in order to translate growth
into employment, Europe needs to address the issues of economic globalisation
more effectively. It is argued that the high unemployment rates in Europe are
caused not by a lack of demand, but by structural problems.
The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2020. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.
Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.
Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, conducted in two rounds – in April and in July 2020. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
Eurofound's representativness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).
This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.
The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
This flagship report summarises the key findings of Eurofound’s research on working conditions conducted over the programming period 2017–2020. It maps the progress achieved since 2000 in improving working conditions and examines whether all workers have benefited equally from positive change. It highlights which groups are the most at risk of experiencing poor working conditions and being left behind. Given the changes in the world of work, emerging challenges for good job quality are identified.
This report analyses the involvement of the national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, and their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and other key policy documents of the European Semester cycle.
This report builds on Eurofound's existing research on social mobility, assessing the distribution and transmission of wealth in Member States. It examines the roles of inheritance and household debt in explaining the transmission of advantage or disadvantage between the generations across Member States. The analysis is based on Eurosystem's Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS).
This report examines the contribution of social and employment services in EU Member States to the inclusion of people with disabilities, specifically in relation to the impact these have on labour market integration – in line with the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report includes a discussion of the costs and benefits of different approaches.
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
This report examines people's optimism about the future, for themselves and for others, and the extent to which it varies depending on one's social situation and perceptions of the quality of society. The study includes an analysis of the relationships between people’s perceptions of fairness and objective indicators of their social and economic situation and living standards.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
Building on Eurofound’s previous research on youth, this report examines the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young people, in particular their economic and social situation, with a focus on employment. It will also estimate how the NEET population – young people not in employment, education or training – has changed in size and composition over the last decade, and how the current crisis might affect this.
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.