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.
The comparative supplement in this issue of EIRObserver examines the subject of overtime in 19 European countries: the 15 EU Member States, Hungary, Norway, Poland and Slovakia. It outlines the following aspects: the regulation of overtime through legislation and collective agreements; the level of overtime working; and the positions, strategies and debates of the industrial relations actors. Working time also features as a topic in this issue relating to cases in Spain, Finland and Italy. EIRObserver is the bi-monthly bulletin of the European Industrial Relations Observatory. It contains an edited selection of feature and news items, based on some of the reports supplied for the EIROnline database over each two-month period, in this case for May and June 2003. In addition to this, EIRO conducts comparative research on specific themes.
In March 2003, a government-appointed commissioner presented a report on
'Artists and the social security systems' (Konstnärerna och
trygghetssystemen , SOU 2003: 21). According to his remit
(Kommittédirektiv 2001:90), the commissioner was charged with investigating
whether professional artists meet with particular problems in the social
security system and, if so, identifying the causes of these problems. In
presenting his findings, commissioner Anders Forsman concluded that artists
are 'atypical' in relation to the system and do indeed encounter many
problems. According to the report, most of the problems follow from the
application of various laws and regulations and not from the legal framework
itself. A considerable number of cases are taken to court, which is costly
both for the individual and for society. No common view of how to deal with
artists' problems exists among the various systems, and there is no
coordination among them. Until such a coordinated view is established, there
will never be any increased knowledge and the problems of application will
never be overcome, the commissioner concludes.
In December 2002, Lena Nekby, a researcher at the Trade Union Institute for
Economic Research (Fackföreningsrörelsens Institut för Ekonomisk
Forskning, FIEF), published a report on how long it takes various immigrant
groups to integrate on the Swedish labour market (How long does it take to
integrate? Employment convergence of immigrants and natives in Sweden ,
FIEF Working Paper Series, No. 185, 2002). The report uses longitudinal data
covering the period 1990–2000, with information on over 200,000
individuals, of whom more than 19,000 were born abroad.
In February 2003, the Minister of Labour proposed a draft 'pact for labour
and development' to trade unions and employers' organisations represented on
Poland's Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs, with the aim
of coming up with a comprehensive solution to address many of the problems
currently facing the country. Opposition to the idea of such a pact from the
NSZZ Solidarność trade union initially prevented progress on the proposal
but - following agreement to drop the term 'pact'- negotiations began in May
on the issues raised in the draft.
In 2001, new legislation in Poland established regional social dialogue
commissions, involving representatives of regional trade union and employers'
organisations, regional government and the national government. The role of
the 16 commissions is formally a consultative one, but participation in their
work is, on the whole, highly regarded by the social partners and by the
authorities. This article examines the development of the regional
commissions, which were subject to important legislative changes in 2002, and
their current position in 2003, drawing on recent research into their impact.
At the end of 2002, three-quarters of Dutch employees were covered by
collective agreements containing childcare arrangements. However, in 2003, in
anticipation of new childcare provision legislation due to come into force in
2005, employers are cutting back the proportion of childcare costs that they
meet under such agreements. At the same time, the cost of childcare is
increasing as market forces take hold in the childcare sector and labour
costs rise because of the abolition of state-subsidised employment and wage
increases for regular staff.
In June 2003, a Spanish court issued its judgment on the 'Ardystil syndrome',
one of the country's worst occupational health disasters, which resulted in
six deaths and over 70 serious illnesses among employees in textile printing
companies in Valencia in the early 1990s. The long-awaited ruling found that
the employers concerned were clearly responsible, and that the public
authorities failed to fulfil their role as a guarantor of safety.
In June 2003, after five months of negotiations, the Confindustria employers'
confederation and the three main trade union confederations (Cgil, Cisl and
Uil) signed a pact aimed at relaunching development, employment and
competitiveness in Italy. The agreement focuses on research, training, the
South of Italy and infrastructure, and seeks to influence the government's
future economic policy.
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
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 European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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.
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).
In 2022, the European Semester was streamlined to integrate the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) established on 19 February 2021 (Regulation (EU) 2021/241). While facing the geopolitical and economic challenges triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Member States have been implementing the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) for more than one year and around 100 billion euro in RRF funds have already been disbursed.
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.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
This paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
As economies emerge from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident. These include shortages exacerbated by the crisis in some sectors and professions where they had been endemic for some time. This report will look at measures implemented at national level to tackle labour shortages in the health, care and information and communications technology sectors, as well as those arising from the twin digital and green transitions.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.