EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Social acquis

The social acquis is the part of the acquis communautaire that includes the body of laws (Treaty provisions, regulations, directives, decisions, European Court of Justice (ECJ) case-law and other Union legal measures, binding and non-binding), principles, policy objectives, declarations, resolutions and international agreements defining the social policy of the EU.

The social acquis relating to employment and industrial relations has expanded greatly since the beginnings of the EC, when it was focused on creating a common market, including free movement of labour. Its scope now covers large areas of individual employment (e.g. contracts and relationships of employment, discrimination and equal treatment, health and safety at work) and collective labour relations (e.g. worker representation, information and consultation, collective redundancy, restructuring of enterprises), which are familiar features in the employment and industrial relations systems of Member States. It also covers policy areas that are unique to the European Union (e.g. European social dialogue, free movement across national borders, European Works Councils and workers’ participation in European companies).

See also: accession; enlargement; EU law; social competences; social objectives.


Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.
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