A recently published study, commissioned by the EU parliament’s committee on
Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), addressed the issue of precarious
working in the EU from a gender as well as an intersectional perspective.
In this context, precarious work is
understood to be employment that meets at least one of the following criteria:
very low pay, low number of working hours or poor job security, e.g. in the
form of fixed-term contracts, jobs with a low level of requirements,
insufficient social protection or a lack of social rights.
Surplus of women in caring professions
As a result, it has become clear that
women, especially young women with a migration background or a low level of
education, are particularly at risk of being permanently employed in precarious
forms of work. One of the main reasons for this is the disproportionately high
presence of women in caring professions as well as domestic work. In
particular, these sectors have been and continue to be significantly affected
by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is mainly women who also have to provide care for
their children, this being triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
Options for action
Based on the results, various
recommendations will be made to improve the situation of women in precarious
work. Among them are proposals with a view to EU legislation: here, particular
reference will be made to the issue of wage transparency, which aims to
highlight the lifelong consequences of gender pay gaps. Proposed amendments to
existing EU regulations, e.g. in relation to the work/life balance directive,
are also intended to further improve the protection of single parents, who
often work in precarious forms of employment.
As early as March last year, the Commission
presented its 2020-2025 Strategy for Gender Equality. In a resolution on this strategy, the European Parliament called
for the EC to present binding measures on wage transparency to close the gender
pay gap, amongst other things. A corresponding Commission proposal had already
been announced for the end of 2020, but is still pending.
Such measures and other ones, which will
improve the working conditions and especially the wage conditions of people in
precarious employment, will ultimately help to increase the headcount of
employees in contributory employment and relieve the burden on the social
security systems in the member states.