EC Directive to improve transparency and predictability of working conditions
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The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a new Directive for more transparent and predictable working conditions across the EU, as part of the follow-up to the European Pillar of Social Rights.
This proposal complements and modernises existing obligations to inform each worker of his or her working conditions.
In addition, the Commission said that the proposal creates new minimum standards to ensure that all workers, including those on atypical contracts, benefit from more predictability and clarity as regards their working conditions.
“The consultations of social partners confirmed the need for more transparent and predictable working conditions in the EU. This proposal respects the compromise of more secure employment in current and future types of working arrangements, allowing for flexibility, and ensuring a level playing field,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.
Dombrovskis added, “this proposal fully respects national social dialogue practises, by allowing social partners to implement the new minimum requirements relating to working conditions through collective agreements.”
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen, said, “the world of work is changing fast with a growing number of non-standard jobs and contracts. This means that more and more people are at risk of not being covered by basic rights anymore, starting from the right to know the terms under which they work. Increased transparency and predictability will benefit to both workers and businesses.”
The Commission said that it estimates 2 to 3 million additional workers on atypical contracts will be covered and protected by the proposal compared to existing legislation.
It added that, “at the same time, the proposal also puts measures in place to avoid administrative burden on employers, for instance by giving them the possibility to provide the requested information electronically.”
The new rules, the Commission said, “will also create a level-playing field for companies, so that employers will benefit from fairer competition in the internal market, with fewer loopholes. More transparent and predictable working conditions are also important for a more motivated and productive workforce.”
More concretely, the Commission aims to reduce the risk of insufficient protection of workers by:
Aligning the notion of worker to the case-law of the European Court of Justice. Under current rules, the definitions may vary and certain categories of workers end up being excluded. By using the definition of worker from the case-law of the Court, this Directive would ensure that the same broad categories of workers will be covered.
Bringing within the scope of the Directive forms of employment that are now often excluded. This includes domestic workers, marginal part-time workers or workers on very short contracts, and extending it to new forms of employment, such as on-demand workers, voucher-based workers and platform workers.
Ensuring that workers are provided with an updated and extended information package directly at the start of employment from day one, instead of two months following the starting date as is currently the case.
Creating new minimum rights, such as the right to greater predictability of work for those working mostly with a variable schedule, the possibility to request transition to a more stable form of employment and receive a reply in writing, or the right to mandatory training without deduction from salary.
Reinforcing the means of enforcement and redress as a last resort to resolve possible disagreements, should dialogue not suffice.
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union would need to adopt the proposed Directive, and also be implemented by the Member States, either through legislation or by social partners’ collective agreements.
Fully recognising the importance of social dialogue, social partners would be able to modulate the minimum rights proposed by the Directive as long as its overall level of protection is respected.