Coronavirus: European Commission calls for action in protecting seasonal workers

masks 2020_

(Credit: Unsplash)

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


Today, the European Commission presents Guidelines to ensure the protection of seasonal workers in the EU in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. It provides guidance to national authorities, labour inspectorates, and social partners to guarantee the rights, health and safety of seasonal workers, and to ensure that seasonal workers are aware of their rights.

Cross-border seasonal workers enjoy a broad set of rights, but given the temporary nature of their work, they can be more vulnerable to precarious working and living conditions. The coronavirus pandemic has given more visibility to these conditions, and in some cases exacerbated them. In some cases such problems can increase the risk of COVID-19 clusters.

Nicolas Schmit, the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: Each year, hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers help to underpin hugely important sectors of the EU’s economy, such as food and agriculture. The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the challenging living and working conditions they face. This has to be addressed. Our guidelines are a wake-up call to Member States and companies to ensure they are fulfilling their duties to protect indispensable, yet vulnerable, workers.”

While the Commission monitors the proper application of Union rules in relation to seasonal workers, the responsibility for their proper application belongs to national authorities. Thus, appropriate actions are needed as a matter of urgency.

The guidelines cover a range of aspects, such as:

  • the right of seasonal workers to work in an EU Member State regardless of whether they are EU nationals or come from countries outside the EU
  • suitable living and working conditions, including physical distancing and appropriate hygiene measures
  • clear communication to workers of their rights
  • undeclared work
  • social security aspects

National action

The Guidelines call on national authorities and social partners to make a renewed effort in fulfilling their role of ensuring the proper application and enforcement of the rules. They include concrete recommendations and suggestions on activities to be undertaken at national or EU level, such as:

  • Calling on Member States to take all necessary measures to ensure decent working and living conditions for seasonal workers
  • Calling on Member States to raise awareness on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) requirements affecting seasonal workers, helping employers implement the relevant legal requirements and providing clear information to workers in a language they understand
  • Inviting Member States to provide practical guidance to smaller companies
  • Asking Member States to strengthen field inspections to ensure to the proper application of the OSH rules for seasonal workers

The Commission will continue to work with Member States, social partners, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the European Labour Authority (ELA) on this important issue.

EU action

The Commission has planned a number of actions to boost the protection of seasonal workers’ rights, including:

  • A study collecting data on intra-EU seasonal work and identifying the main challenges, including in relation to sub-contracting;
  • A survey on high-risk occupations, including seasonal workers, carried out by the EU-OSHA in close collaboration with the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee;
  • An awareness-raising campaign targeting sectors more exposed to seasonal work, coordinated by ELA;
  • A hearing with European social partners on seasonal workers;
  • A comparative analysis study in different Member States by the network of legal experts on free movement and the coordination of social security (MoveS);
  • Support to Member States through the European Platform tackling undeclared work and the #EU4FairWork4 campaign, to foster better awareness of rights and obligations among workers and employers.

Background

The Guidelines presented today recall the rights of seasonal workers regardless of their status: whether they are EU citizens or third-country nationals, including those working regularly abroad on their own accord, or are posted for example through temporary work and recruitment agencies.

It is essential that seasonal workers and their employers have all the information they need both about the protection they enjoy as well as the obligations they need to fulfil.

More than 17.6 million EU citizens live or work in a Member States other than that of their nationality. Certain sectors of the European economy, in particular the agri-food and tourism sectors, depend on the support of seasonal workers from EU and non-EU countries for specific periods of the year. The Commission estimates that the average of active seasonal workers in the EU per year is between several hundred thousand and a million.

While the Commission monitors the proper application of Union and national law rules in relation to seasonal workers in the EU, the responsibility for the proper application of these rules belongs to national authorities. In order to protect seasonal workers, Member States are invited to step up the enforcement of existing EU and national law and strengthen the field inspections in this respect, including with the support of the European Labour Authority (ELA).

These guidelines complement the Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during COVID-19 outbreak, published on 30 March 2020, and respond to a call of the European Parliament in its resolution of 19 June 2020 on the protection of cross-border and seasonal workers.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

ECB’s trillion has to be printed and distributed fast before Armageddon comes

It is now the era to evolve mutually as the bacteria do

Here’s what keeps CEOs awake at night (and why it might be bad news for your next job)

UN Envoy ‘confident’ deal can be reached to avert further violence around key Yemeni port city

“America first” policy goes against EU-US partnership, say MEPs

The US reject EU proposal for prudential financial controls

Banking Union: ECOFIN and Parliament ready to compromise

COP24 addresses climate change displacement ahead of crunch migration meeting

European Youth Forum on Summit on Jobs and Growth

How responsible businesses can step forward to fight coronavirus

Over 330,000 Congolese migrants at risk after mass deportations from Angola – UN rights chief

UN experts warn Assange arrest exposes him to risk of serious human rights violations

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

How one traumatised child survived genocide and started a movement for mental health

Syria’s Idlib ‘on the brink’ of a nightmare, humanitarian chiefs warn, launching global solidarity campaign

Here are 5 reasons why the ocean is so important

The art of care goes beyond borders: one has to understand the individual as a whole

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

AI has huge potential – but it won’t solve all our problems

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

Vaccinations and the movement of anti-vaccers

Five cities short-listed to become the European Youth Capital 2017

8th Euronest Assembly: the future of relations with Eastern partners

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

Half the population of Yemen at risk of famine: UN emergency relief chief

Malta and Slovakia: MEPs warn of lack of judicial independence and corruption

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

DR Congo Ebola outbreak now a Public Health Emergency, UN health agency declares

Attempt to defy international law over Golan Heights sovereignty ‘doomed to failure’ Security Council hears

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

ECB offers cheaper money despite reactions from Germany

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Amid ongoing fighting in northeast Syria, hundreds cross Iraqi border in search of safety

This new initiative aims to make cybercrime harder – and riskier – to commit

Climate action must stay top of the global agenda as we emerge from COVID-19

EU cracks under the weight of its policy on the Ukraine-Russia nub

Turning challenge into opportunity on the course to becoming the first climate-neutral continent

India is a latecomer to AI. Here’s how it plans to catch up

Eurozone banks are unable to support real economy’s dawning growth

Antitrust: Commission launches sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things (IoT)

‘Violence, atrocities and impunity’ reign throughout Libya, ICC prosecutor tells UN Security Council

Powering a climate-neutral economy: Commission sets out plans for the energy system of the future and clean hydrogen

Commission welcomes Bulgaria and Croatia’s entry into the Exchange Rate Mechanism II

Macro-Financial Assistance: Europe’s way to control Ukraine?

Shinzō Abe, on the right, and Jean-Claude Juncker at EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo last week. (Copyright: European Union, 2018 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte)

EU and Japan ratify first FTA ever to include Paris Climate Agreement provision

Iceland won’t talk with Brussels about EU accession

Innovative urban financing can make our cities stronger

Health Education, is it a necessity?

China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

New EU short-stay visas: more advantages for legitimate travellers

UN agriculture agency chief calls on world’s mayors to make ‘global commitments local realities’

Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

Sustainable finance: Commission welcomes deal on an EU-wide classification system for sustainable investments (Taxonomy)

Corporations must help shape a better world – or risk being left behind

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

COVID-19: A new drug is tested, and other top science stories of the week

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s