On 13th October 2020, the Council adopted
for the Employment Policies of the Member States", which set out
common priorities and objectives for employment policy measures of the Member
States especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines deal with four subject
areas. In the first subject area, the text sets out objectives and indications
for stimulating the demand for labour.
The guidelines suggest here that Member States
should actively promote a sustainable social market economy and support
investment in the creation of quality jobs. To this end, they should reduce the
obstacles faced by companies when hiring workers. The development of the social
economy should be actively promoted so that positive social impacts are
achieved at local level in addition to high-quality employment opportunities.
Lifelong learning and equal opportunities
In the second subject area, the guidelines
recommend the promotion of relevant knowledge, skills and qualification
throughout working life. As a result, it should be possible to respond to
current and future requirements of the labour market in the wake of
technological and ecological transition processes and demographic change. Member
States should address inequalities in education and training to ensure equal
opportunities for all.
Further, the guidelines encourage Member
States to work with the social partners to promote fair, transparent and
reliable working conditions. Healthy and safe working environments should
prevail, also with regard to the risks associated with the COVID-19 crisis. The
involvement of the social partners is also encouraged for fair and adequate
wages. Precarious employment relationships should be prevented by measures
against the abuse of atypical contracts - also for platform workers.
Modernisation of social security
Finally, the guidelines recommend
modernising national social protection systems to ensure adequate and
sustainable social security for all in all phases of life. One aspect deals
with pension systems. These should be designed so as to ensure adequate income
during the latter stages of life. Pension reforms should be supported by
measures to reduce the gender pension gap and to prolong working lives,
accompanied by active ageing strategies.
European employment strategy
The guidelines are part of the European
employment strategy. This was launched in 1997, when the EU Member States
developed a set of common objectives for their employment policies. Its main
objective is to create more and better jobs across the EU.
The European employment strategy is
implemented as part of the European Semester, the annual process that promotes
close policy coordination between EU Member States and the EU institutions.