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This article presents some of the key developments and research findings on aspects of individual employment relations in the EU during the third quarter of 2014. Measures to combat undeclared work such as increased monitoring, closer supervision of revenue collection and pre-paid service vouchers for short-term work are the main focus of this report.
This article presents some of the key developments and research findings on aspects of individual employment relations in the EU during the third quarter of 2014. Measures to combat the growing problem of youth unemployment and prevent the misuse of traineeships and internships are the main focus of this report.
In the recent past, the policy debate around wage setting – both at European and the national level – has reflected the view that wages should better reflect differences in productivity developments. This article provides an overview of related debates in a number of Member States in 2014. By and large, there seems to be some ‘convergence at the level of debates’: with reflections about the possible introduction of universal minimum wages in some of those Member States with collectively agreed minima, while Member States that already have a statutorily set wage floor are considering different ways of introducing more differentiated minima. This would eventually move them closer to the prevailing system in the first set of Member States as regards the setting of wages at the lower end of the wage distribution.
Experts acknowledge the success of Spanish measures to encourage self-employment, but argue that many unemployed people have decided to set up their own businesses only because they cannot find a job, and that necessity-driven new businesses have lower survival rates. They say entrepreneurship should be supported with long-term measures adapted to entrepreneurs’ actual needs.
Belgium is one of a small number of countries to use a wage indexation system linking wage rises to the cost of living. However, the recent economic crisis has highlighted problems with the system and the government has even introduced legislation to veto 'cost of living' wage increases as part of its austerity measures.
A second Quality of Work Index study, carried out in 2014, measures the perceived satisfaction of workers in Luxembourg with their employment and work–life balance. Almost two-thirds of all respondents said they were highly satisfied at work, but satisfaction was far higher (81%) among those who had a permanent employment contract.
The effect of earlier retirement on health outcomes is examined in a new report that looks at the retirement plans of different two age groups of Swedish army officers. The study finds that earlier retirement positively affected health: those who retired earlier had significantly fewer days of inpatient care and reduced mortality than those who retired later.
A French study into risk prevention in the construction sector set out to assess the link between prevention and performance. It looked at preventive measures in 101 companies introduced in an effort to improve safety for workers. The findings demonstrate to managers and employees that pro-active measures, far from hampering competitiveness, can in fact lead to an increase in economic performance.
The Italian government aims to strengthen school-to-work transitions by means of apprenticeship contracts. To this aim, an experimental plan allows students to spend training periods within enterprises. In order to implement this plan, public institutions and a firm or an employers’ organisation are required to set up framework agreements. Two such agreements have been signed up to now.
A two-year-long project developing and testing an employee-driven approach to productivity improvement in local government organisations in Finland has shown significant results. In the five municipalities that took part in the project, productivity improved by €2.7 million or almost €1,000 per employee, per year. In addition, the employee-driven approach simultaneously aimed to foster new practices that have benefited the quality of working life in the municipal organisations.