The proposal is a follow-up from the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017 by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission, in particular Principle 5 (secure and adaptable employment) and Principle 7 (information about employment condition and protection in case of dismissals).
Review of the existing Directive
According to the EU Commission, the current Directive on working conditions no longer reflects the labour market reality that has emerged in recent years and new forms of employment in the world of Uber and Deliveroo. In 2016, a quarter of all employment contracts were for non-standard employment and in the last ten years more than half of all new jobs were non-standard.
The European Parliament’s resolution of 4 July 2017 on working conditions and precarious employment calls upon the Commission to adapt the framework directive on decent working conditions to today’s world of work so that it includes all forms of employment.
The aim of the proposal
The aim of the proposed Directive is to promote secure and predictable employment while maintaining labour market adaptability and improving living and working conditions. To do this, the Commission would like to ensure workers have better access to information concerning their working conditions, as well as improved working conditions for all workers, especially those in new and non-standard employment, while maintaining scope for adaptability and innovation in the labour market. The Commission also wants to improve compliance with standards for working conditions through increased enforcement. The Commission is also seeking greater transparency in the labour market while avoiding unnecessary burdens on businesses.
The Commission has proposed the following measures to achieve its objectives:
1. Align the definition of ‘worker’ to the case-law of the European Court of Justice.
2. Include forms of employment into the scope of the directive that are now often excluded.
3. Provide workers with an updated, written and extended information packet on their first day of work and not two months following their commencement date, as is currently the case.
4. Introduce new minimum rights, including the right to better planning of working hours, the right to breaks and paid holiday leave, and the right to mandatory training without salary deductions.
5. Reinforce the means of enforcement and redress as a last resort to resolve conflicts.
The Commission has estimated that up to three million people are currently excluded from the scope of the Directive because they are in non-standard forms of employment such as casual work, part-time work, on-demand work, zero-hour contracts, platform work or temporary agency work. Only workers who work for less than eight hours a month can be excluded from the new Directive’s scope. However, to prevent abuse, the Directive also stipulates that employment relationships that do not specify a guaranteed amount of paid work prior to commencement of employment are not covered by this exemption.
The proposed Directive must now be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. Should it enter into force, it would have to be transposed by the Member States, either by adopting the legislation or by the social partners negotiating collective agreements.
More information can be found here.