Member States should be assisted by measures which help them meet their responsibilities.

SW – 01/2018

Shortly before the end of the year, the EU Commission launched various measures in preparation of the social fairness package announced for March. This included a stakeholder consultation on a potential EU initiative on social protection for all workers, regardless of their form of employment. The European Commission wanted to know if it could help the Member States, and if so, in what form (see article from Dec 2017).  

Comments by the German Social Insurance

The umbrella associations of Germany’s social insurance system submitted comments to the EU consultation. They welcome the Commission’s debate on ensuring adequate access to social protection for all workers. 


However, they also stress that the Member States are responsible for specifying the core principles of their social protection systems. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Member States to implement the recommendation in the European Pillar of Social Rights to ensure adequate social protection for workers regardless of the type and length of employment and under comparable conditions for self-employed workers. This has also been specifically stated in the preamble to the European Pillar of Social Rights. 


However, the German Social Insurance believes it would be helpful to have the EU support the Member States, for example, by encouraging the exchange of information and experiences on challenges and ongoing processes in each of the Member States or by providing information on best practices. In an increasingly fast-changing world of work, this could help the Member States to respond faster in order to keep pace with new developments and adapt their social protection systems where necessary. 


The Commission’s "Access to Social Protection for All" initiative, including workers in non-standard employment and the self-employed, was in response to concerns raised by stakeholders during the consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Commission then recommended in the European Pillar of Social Rights that workers should have the right to adequate social protection regardless of the nature and duration of their employment and under comparable conditions. 


The aim is to close the gaps in some EU Member States in both formal and effective coverage of these workers. Brussels also sees the need for action with respect to transferability, transparency of rights and complexity of rules. 


Therefore, it consulted both the social partners and the wider public on a possible initiative. These were accompanied by consultations with various stakeholder groups, including the statutory social insurance institutions (see DSV article). 


Based on its findings from the consultations and stakeholder meetings, the Commission will now decide whether action needs to be taken to ensure adequate social protection for all workers in Europe and if so, in what form. It wants to present an initiative on access to social protection as part of its "Social Fairness Package" on 7 March 2018. 


The comments made by the DSV are available here (German language. English language will be available soon).