Listen up EU Ministers: We need a more transparent and fair labour market for all

20. 06. 2018

On 21 June, all EU Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs will meet to discuss two key initiatives: the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions and the Directive on Work Life Balance. The European Youth Forum urges Member States to overcome their respective differences and reach an agreement on both Directives; recalling their political commitment and responsibility to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights, as agreed at the March European Council.

While the path towards a labour market where young people can thrive is still long, the proposal for a Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions aims to address some important challenges raised by the changing nature of work. This Directive not only establishes that workers have a right to be timely informed about their working conditions, but also defines a minimum set of rights all workers should be entitled to. Therefore, it has the potential to ensure more transparency, reduce precariousness, and better protect young workers from being taken advantage of.

For the Directive to have impact, however, it is essential that its scope is as broad as possible. The Youth Forum, therefore, strongly encourages all Member States not only to support the EU-level definition of worker already included in the Commission’s proposal, but to go beyond such definition and ensure all workers, including unpaid interns and apprentices, are protected.

On Work Life Balance, the Youth Forum, co-signed an open letter calling on the Council to move forward with the Directive and not further delay the adoption of a general approach.

Both the Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions, and the Directive on Work Life Balance are essential steps to achieve a more social Europe, and can make a crucial impact on the everyday life of millions of young workers and parents.

The Ministers are also expected to adopt Council Conclusions on the future of work. The Youth Forum welcomes this timely initiative. As megatrends such as digitalisation and globalisation already begin to change the kind of work we do and the role of work in our lives, it is vital that Member States adequately prepare social protection mechanisms and labour legislation for new forms of work. Such policies should take into account the reality of young people who often engage in precarious or unpaid work, so that they do not fall through the gaps. Furthermore any and all policies, particularly those aimed at the up-skilling or re-skilling of workers, should ensure that they reach the most vulnerable and marginalised so that no one is left behind in the EU’s future labour market.

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