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 Full text 
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (debate)

  Marianne Thyssen, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I am very happy to be here with you before the vote on this directive, one of the key deliverables of the European pillar of social rights. I would like to thank the rapporteur Mr Calvet Chambon, for bringing this file to a swift and successful conclusion.

We have been under considerable time constraints to close this file during the current parliamentary term. Reaching a provisional agreement would not have been possible without goodwill and cooperation both from Parliament and the Council and not without the rapporteur’s tireless commitment to seek a good compromise text during the negotiations.

The proposed directive is a significant achievement for social Europe. With the directive we will provide 200 million workers across Europe with more transparent and predictable working conditions. We are modernising European labour law and adjusting it to the new world of work. As Members of this Parliament know, today a growing number of workers, and in particular young and female workers, are in atypical forms of employment with often very flexible contracts. This is why we needed to find the right balance. We must ensure protection for workers without overburdening employers and without stifling innovation, and that is exactly what we have done with the proposed directive.

With the new rules in place we will first of all ensure more transparency. All workers in the EU will receive information on key working conditions. Workers will know at the beginning of their employment – this means within the first week – what their basic rights and obligations are. This includes information on their remuneration, their working schedule and the duration of their contracts, and thanks to Parliament, extra information for temporary agency workers.

Around two to three million workers that so far were excluded will now be covered. This includes platform workers, domestic workers, voucher workers, workers on zero-hour contracts and other short-term workers.

However, we do not stop at information rights. The directive also provides completely new substantive rights, like, for example, a limitation on probation periods, a ban on unjustified exclusivity clauses, a right for workers on on—demand contracts to know within which time slots they can be called to work and thanks to this Parliament, a right to compensation if an employer cancels a work assignment on short notice and measures to prevent abuse of on—demand contracts. And there is also the principle that mandatory training should be cost—free to the worker and, again thanks to Parliament, that it should count as working time.

All in all, what you are voting on today is a substantial improvement in the working conditions for all EU workers. We are breaking new ground with this directive and it will therefore be extremely important that we get the implementation right. The Commission will work closely with national authorities to ensure the final objective: concrete rights for precarious workers, without unnecessary red tape for business.

Last updated: 9 July 2019Legal notice