Exploring self-employment in the European Union

Report
Updated
5 July 2021
Published
21 September 2017
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Executive summary in 22 languages
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Abstract

In the rapidly changing world of work, the traditional dichotomy of employee and self-employed is insufficient to capture the wide diversity of self-employed workers in Europe today. This report identifies five categories of self-employed, reflecting the wide-ranging attitudes, income levels, andRead more

In the rapidly changing world of work, the traditional dichotomy of employee and self-employed is insufficient to capture the wide diversity of self-employed workers in Europe today. This report identifies five categories of self-employed, reflecting the wide-ranging attitudes, income levels, and health and well-being among this diverse group. Based on data from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) and the European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), the analysis reveals that the majority of self-employed workers enjoy high levels of job quality. However, there are concerns in relation to so-called ‘economically dependent workers’: while they are classed as self-employed, they lack both the autonomy that self-employment usually offers and the social protection granted by regular employment. Some policy approaches of Member States to this ‘in-between’ employment status are described in detail, which are of relevance for the discussions around the European Pillar of Social Rights.

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Part of the series

  • European Working Conditions Survey 2015

    Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the EWCS 2015, the sixth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.

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