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Always on standby: How precarious work impacts young people’s mental health


For many young people across Europe, employment has increasingly become marked by uncertainty, insecurity and volatility. In everyday terms, this means more jobs that only offer temporary contracts that have to be renewed on a monthly basis, jobs where the number of hours can be changed arbitrarily, jobs where a shift can’t be turned down, because it’s not certain if and when the next one will come. This trend towards precarious work - as this paper highlights - has a substantial impact on young people’s mental health. Additionally, it affects their capacity to secure and organise their time, achieve a sense of dignity and obtain the necessary material means to achieve broader financial security.

Precarious work is not inevitable; rather, it is a result of political decisions and can therefore be mitigated and ultimately eliminated. This paper outlines actionable steps at both the national and EU level to address the issue, paving the way for a better relationship between mental health and the world of work for young people.

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