Working for yourself rather than for a company can have benefits such as flexibility and more control, but it can also mean having fewer social rights than employees. The Parliament adopted a resolution on 14 January calling for adequate social protection for the growing number of self-employed workers, who now represent more than 15% of total employment in the EU. We discussed it with Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, a Lithuanian member of the S&D group, who wrote the report on it.
What are the main problems linked to the social protection of self-employed people?
In many countries self-employed people are not covered to the full extent by pension schemes, which puts them at risk of poverty in old age. They are also less protected when it comes to parental leave and unemployment.
Another problem is bogus self-employment, where employees are falsely considered to be self-employed in order to pay fewer social contributions. This distorts competition, violates workers’ rights and there is a risk of social dumping.
How can we tackle these problems?
EU countries should better coordinate social security schemes for the self-employed, because their differences restrict the free movement of workers.
Social protection in relation to retirement, disability, parental leave and unemployment needs to be developed in such a way that provisions for self-employed workers are better adapted to the needs of those workers.
It is also necessary to clearly define false self-employment and impose sanctions on employers for this offence. Self-employment should not be used as a means to bypass social security laws and strip workers of their entitlements.