Social Europe: More transparent and predictable working conditions for workers in EU

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


Today is the deadline for EU Member States to transpose the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions into national law. The Directive provides more extensive and updated labour rights and protection to the 182 million workers in the EU.

With the new rules, workers will have the right to more predictability in their working conditions, for instance regarding assignments and working time. They will also have the right to receive timely and more complete information about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and remuneration. This marks an important step for a strong social Europe and contributes to turning the European Pillar of Social Rights into a tangible reality for people across the EU.

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “The Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions is a direct response to the fast-changing reality of our labour markets. People have the right to more complete information about the conditions of their employment and more predictability in their day-to-day lives. The new rules will help guarantee quality jobs, give workers stability, and allow them to plan their lives.”

Labour rights and protection are expanded and updated to the new world of work

With the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions, workers in the EU will have the right to:

  • More complete information on the essential aspects of their work, to be received early and in writing;
  • A limit to the length of probationary periods at the beginning of the job to six months;
  • Take up another job with another employer; any restrictions to this right need to be justified on objective grounds;
  • Be informed within a reasonable period in advance when work will have to be done – especially for workers with unpredictable working schedules and on-demand work;
  • Effective measures that prevent abuse of zero-hour contract work;
  • Receive a written reply to a request for transfer to another more secure job;
  • Receive cost-free mandatory training related to the job where the employer has a duty to provide this.

An estimated additional 2 to 3 million workers in precarious and non-standard forms of employment, including part-time, temporary and on-demand work, will now enjoy rights to information about their conditions of employment and new protection, such as the right to more predictability in their working time. At the same time, the Directive respects the flexibility of non-standard employment, thus preserving its benefits to workers and employers.

The Directive will also benefit employers by ensuring worker protection remains in line with the latest developments in the labour markets, by reducing administrative obstacles for employers, for instance making it possible to provide information electronically, and by creating a level playing field among employers in the EU, allowing for fair competition on the basis of the same minimum level of labour rights.

Next steps

Member States are required to transpose the Directive into national law by today. As a next step, the Commission will assess the completeness and compliance of the national measures notified by each Member State, and take action if and where necessary.

Background

The European Pillar of Social Rights lists ‘secure and adaptable employment’ and ‘information about employment conditions and protection in case of dismissals’ as essential principles for fair working conditions. It states that workers have the right to be informed in writing at the start of employment about their rights and obligations resulting from the employment relationship, including on probation period.

The new Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions (EU/2019/1152) replaces the Written Statement Directive (91/533/EEC), which had been in place since 1991 and gave workers starting a new job the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their employment relationship.

Today’s milestone will be followed by another major achievement under the European Pillar of Social Rights tomorrow. The EU-wide rules to improve work-life balance for parents and carers adopted in 2019 will need to be transposed by Member States by 2 August 2022.  

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