A new general anti-discrimination law was adopted in Belgium in February
2003. It bans discrimination on many grounds and in various contexts,
including employment relationships. It was expected that the law would have a
major positive impact on equality at work, but has come under criticism for
being unclear and hard to apply. For example, the law's definition of the
discrimination to be prohibited is thought by some experts to be at odds with
recent EU Directives on the issue, while some of the provisions may create
difficulties in the employment context.
Since 1990, the relationships between the social partners and the state have
played an important role in the process of economic and social transformation
in Slovakia. Although the transformation process was not entirely without
conflicts during the 1990s and early 2000s, disputes between the social
partners did not result in any serious industrial action. Indeed, after
Slovakia became independent in 1993, no genuine strikes were recorded until
January-February 2003, when railway workers held two stoppages (SK0306101F
). Over this period, as a result of privatisation and the development of a
market economy, the role of the state in the economy has been redefined. This
new role has manifested itself in a reduction of direct interventions by the
state authorities in the activities of individual sectors, enterprises and
plants, and in efforts to influence the economy more indirectly through the
tools of tax and fiscal policy. In the industrial relations area, the state
has restricted itself to setting the legal framework for the labour market
and social policy, including the rules for collective bargaining (SK0210102F
) - though it should be noted that the state is still a significant
employer in the public services (eg education, healthcare and railways). The
main role of the state in the social dialogue which has developed in Slovakia
is the fulfilment of various tasks within the tripartite'concertation'
process, involving the employers and the employees representatives at the top
level or, in some cases, at sector level.
The Italian government took over the EU Presidency from Greece on 1 July
2003, and will hold it until the end of the year. It has set out its
programme and priorities in a document entitled Europe: Citizens of a shared
After over a year of negotiations (SI0206102F ), the government, trade
unions and employers' organisations signed a two-year national 'social
agreement  ' for 2003-5 on 22 April 2003. The agreement sets the general
direction for economic and social developments and policies until 2005, and
aims to supports balanced socio-economic development. The first such social
agreement was signed in 1996.
Practices such as delayed payment of wages and failure to make social
security contributions on employees' pay are relatively widespread among
Polish employers. The problem is not new but has recently received renewed
attention from trade unions and the media. Research conducted in May 2003 by
the Warsaw School of Economics sheds light on the nature of these unfair
employer practices, indicating that some 9% of employees do not receive their
wages on time and 17% do not have their social security contributions paid in
full. The situation is worst in smaller companies and those in private Polish
The unemployment rate in Poland rose to 18.1% in 2002, with over 3.2 million
people registered as jobless and long-term unemployment rising rapidly.
Unemployment is becoming a major and widespread problem, no longer confined
to specific industries or regions (though significant geographical
differences persist). This article examines the situation in 2002 in detail,
and looks at the measures being used in the fight against unemployment.
The development of policies and the delivery of services to promote the social inclusion of people with a chronic physical or mental illness or disability are crucial steps in achieving a more inclusive society. This report examines how to drive this process forward.
Changes to traditional gender roles and the labour market are forcing a rethink of conventional work-life patterns. Individuals are calling for a better quality of life, while employers require greater flexibility in the workplace. The idea of reorganising time over the whole course of working is one possible response. This report offers a conceptual framework to consider time arrangements and working life, linking this to measures to improve quality of life.
What are the working-time preferences of the workforce in Europe? Which schedules are the most compatible with family and other commitments? These questions are relevant to European employment policy and for the working-time policy negotiations of the social partners and are examined in this article.
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, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. 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 representativeness 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 developments in minimum wage rates across the EU, including how they are set and how they have developed over time in nominal and real terms. The series explores where there are statutory minimum wages or collectively agreed minimum wages in the Member States, as well as minimum wage coverage rates by gender.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. 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.
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.
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 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.
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 fifth round of Eurofound's e-survey, fielded from 25 March to 2 May 2022, sheds light on the social and economic situation of people across Europe two years after COVID-19 was first detected on the European continent. It also explores the reality of living in a new era of uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine, inflation, and rising energy prices.
As part of a process to collect information on essential services, the European Commission (DG EMPL) requested Eurofound to provide input on certain aspects of existing and planned measures in the Member States to improve access to essential services, in reference to Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The scope of the exercise included energy services, public transport and digital communications, and the focus was on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (in practice, people on low incomes in most cases).
This report will map the existing regulations on telework in European Union Member States, including in legislation and collective agreements. It will present the most recent changes to these regulations and shed light on how the future of (tele)work could be regulated at both national and EU level, in order to improve working conditions in telework arrangements and reduce the risks associated with telework and with specific ways of working remotely.
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.
Between 2021 and 2023 Eurofound is carrying out a pilot project on minimum wage on behalf of the European Commission. The question of how minimum wages and other forms of pay can be fixed for the self-employed is investigated as a part of this project through mapping national and sectoral approaches. Out of concern for the challenging conditions that the self-employed face, some Member States have established or are discussing establishing statutory forms of minimum pay for certain categories of self-employed.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the electricity sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the gas sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the gas sector in the EU Member States.