MEPs call on EU countries to end precarious employment practices

Thysen European Employment 2018

Marianne Thyssen, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. © European Union , 2018 / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Parliament calls on EU countries to effectively combat precarious employment practices, such as “zero-hour” contracts, in a resolution adopted on Thursday.

The European Parliament adopted on Thursday a resolution calling on the European Commission and EU countries to tackle the issue of precarious employment practices and the abusive use of fixed-term work contracts in the EU public and private sector.

The resolution was tabled by the Parliament’s Petitions Committee, which has received many petitions concerning cases of unfair and alleged illegal working contracts and arrangements from all over the EU.

More inspections needed

EU countries must combat precarious employment practices, such as so-called “zero-hour” contracts, and ensure that the precedent set by the EU Court of Justice in European labour law is coherently respected, MEPs say. A “zero-hour” contract is a working arrangement without a minimum number of guaranteed working hours.

Workplace inspections are also needed so that workers subject to temporary or flexible contract arrangements benefit from at least the same protection as all other employees .

The interpretation by the EU court that repeated fixed-term contracts should be converted into contracts of indefinite duration must be properly adhered to by all EU countries and consistently incorporated into their respective legal frameworks .

The resolution also

  • calls on the Commission and EU countries to fully ensure equal pay for equal work at the same workplace,
  • stresses that the EU Working Time Directive must be applied to workers on “zero-hour” contracts, so that they are covered by the rules on minimum rest periods and maximum working times ,
  • invites EU countries to improve job standards in non-conventional jobs by providing, at the very least, a set of minimum standards for social protection, minimum wage levels and access to training,
  • denounces the renewal of fixed-term contracts with the aim of covering needs which are not temporary in nature, but fixed and permanent,
  • insists that EU countries assess legislation concerning precarious work in relation to its gender impact, as women constitute an already over-represented group that will continue to be overly affected.

The resolution was approved by 312 votes in favour and 75 against, with 155 abstentions.

Background

The European Parliament’s Petitions Committee has received around 80 petitions on similar cases from all over the EU, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Greece and France.

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