Table of Contents
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This impact area focuses on socio-economic conditions of workers and unemployed, i.e. the set of rights, norms and routines which characterize the general working environment, regulate the activity of workers, and support people looking for a job. The EU pays special attention to issues regarding the health and safety at work as well as labor laws aiming to protect workers' health and wellbeing. Poor working conditions represent a huge cost for the EU economy, EU employment legislation therefore guarantees minimum levels of protection applying to everyone living and working in the European Union. The need to improve working conditions is a collective concern, prompted by both humanitarian and economic considerations. Moreover, labour laws define the rights and obligations of workers and employers in their workplace. At Community level, labour law covers two main areas: First, working conditions, including working time, part-time and fixed-term work, and posting of workers. And second, information and consultation rights of workers, including in the event of collective redundancies and transfers of undertakings.
This impact area is further specified by the taxonomy terms: Job Quality, Vocational Training, Workers´ Health, Safety and Dignity, Employees´ Legal Safety, Employees´ Rights, Employment Standards, Protection of Young People at Work, Impact of New Technologies on Jobs.
- There is already a substantial body of EC secondary legislation in the area of labour law. At Community level, labour law covers three main areas:
- Working conditions, including working time, part-time and fixed-term work, temporary agency work, and posting of workers
- Involvement of workers in the decision making of the employer, including information, consultation and participation in the board
- Protection of workers in case of transfer of undertaking, collective redundancy and employer insolvency
- A solid corpus of Community legislation laying down minimum requirements concerning health and safety at work has been adopted, with the aim of preventing occupational illness and accidents at work. Community action also favours information, guidance and promotion of healthy working environment. The Commission cooperates with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work. The Commission communication "Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work" outlines the options for further action in this area. The new strategy for 2007-2012 aims to achieve a sustained reduction of occupational accidents and diseases in the EU.
- Complementing the labour law instruments the monitoring of industrial change and financial participation schemes in cooperation with the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (www.eurofound.europa.eu) aims at the exchange of information and best practices.
For information on concrete policies, please refer to http://europa.eu/pol/socio/index_en.htm.
Legal Basis for the Commission to Act
EU labour law is treated in Art. 136-145 (Title XI: Social Policy, Education, Vocational Training and Youth) and aims mainly at promoting the improving of employment and working conditions while ensuring a level playing field with regard to competition conditions.
- Summaries of EU legislation: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/employment_and_social_policy/index_en.htm
- DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion: http://ec.europa.eu/social/home.jsp?langId=en
- on Rights at Work, Health and safety at work, labour law: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=82&langId=en
- on Restructuring: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=782&langId=en
- Agency for Health and Safety at Work: http://osha.europa.eu/de/front-page
- European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/
Please link to relevant Directorate General Contact Details.