Procedure : 2016/2221(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0224/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0224/2017

Debates :

PV 03/07/2017 - 25
CRE 03/07/2017 - 25

Votes :

PV 04/07/2017 - 6.16
CRE 04/07/2017 - 6.16

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0290

REPORT     
PDF 570kWORD 94k
14 June 2017
PE 587.795v02-00 A8-0224/2017

on working conditions and precarious employment

(2016/2221(INI))

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Rapporteur: Neoklis Sylikiotis

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on working conditions and precarious employment

(2016/2221(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Articles 151 and 153,

  having regard to Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular its Title IV (Solidarity),

–  having regard to Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 on the protection of young people at work(1),

  having regard to Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation(2),

  having regard to Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work (the Temporary Agency Work Directive)(3),

  having regard to the targeted revision of Directive 1996/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (the Posting of Workers Directive)(4) and of Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (the Enforcement Directive)(5),

  having regard to Regulation 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I)(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers(7),

  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on ‘Creating a competitive EU labour market for the 21st century: matching skills and qualifications with demand and job opportunities, as a way to recover from the crisis’,(8)

  having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2016 on ‘European Semester for economic policy coordination: Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Growth’(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2016 on social dumping in the European Union(10),

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–  having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2016 on the application of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(11),

  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2017 on a European Pillar of Social Rights(12),

  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘The changing nature of employment relationships and its impact on the living wage’(13),

  having regard to the European Platform to enhance cooperation in tackling undeclared work,

–  having regard to its 2016 study entitled ‘Precarious Employment in Europe: Patterns, trends and policy strategies’(14),

  having regard to the European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships launched on 14 December 2011,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) Quarterly Review for autumn 2016,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2020,

  having regard to the Eurofound report (2010) on ‘Flexible forms of work: “very atypical” contractual arrangements’,

  having regards to the Eurofound report (2014) on ‘The impact of the crisis on industrial and working conditions in Europe’(15),

  having regard to the Eurofound report (2015) on ‘New forms of employment(16),

  having regard to the Eurofound report (2016) on ‘Exploring the fraudulent contracting of work in the European Union’(17),

  having regard to the Eurofound European Working Conditions Survey and its Sixth European Working Conditions Survey – Overview report(18),

  having regard to the Eurofound Industrial Relations Dictionary(19),

–  having regard to the fundamental labour standards established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and to its conventions and recommendations on working conditions,

–  having regard to the ILO’s Recommendation R198 of 2006 concerning the employment relationship (the Employment Relationship Recommendation)(20) and to its provisions on the determination of an employment relationship,

–  having regard to the ILO report of 2011 on policies and regulations to combat precarious employment(21),

–  having regard to the ILO report of 2016 on non-standard employment around the world(22),

–  having regard to the ILO report of 2016 on building a social pillar for European convergence(23),

–  having regard to the UN’s General Recommendation No 28 of 2010 on the Core Obligations of States Parties under Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,

–  having regard to the 2011 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0224/2017),

A.  whereas non-standard, atypical forms of employment have been emerging; whereas the number of workers with fixed-term and part-time contracts has increased in the EU over the past 15 years; whereas efficient policies are needed to embrace the various forms of employment and adequately protect workers;

B.  whereas during the last 10 years standard employment has fallen from 62 % to 59 %(24); whereas if this trend continues it may well become the case that standard contracts will only apply to a minority of workers;

C.  whereas full-time, permanent contracts continue to account for the majority of employment contracts in the EU and in some sectors atypical forms of employment are also to be found alongside standard employment; whereas atypical employment can also have negative effects on work-life balance, due to non-standard working time as well as irregular wages and pension contributions;

D.  whereas the new forms of employment that are emerging, particularly in the context of digitalisation and the new technologies, are blurring the boundary between dependent employment and self-employment(25), which can cause a decline in the quality of employment;

E.  whereas some new forms of employment are different from traditional standard employment in a number of ways; whereas some are transforming the relationship between employer and employee, others are changing the working pattern and organisation of work, and others again are doing both; whereas this can cause a rise in bogus self-employment, a deterioration of working conditions and a reduction in social security protection, but can also bring advantages; whereas the implementation of existing legislation is therefore of paramount importance;

F.  whereas increases in employment rates in the Union since the economic crisis are to be welcomed, but can be partly attributed to an increase in the number of atypical contracts, creating in certain cases greater risk of precariousness than standard employment; whereas greater emphasis should be placed on quality in job creation;

G.  whereas part-time employment has at no moment declined since the crisis, and full-time employment at Union level is still below its 2008 pre-crisis level; whereas despite increases in recent years, the employment rate is still below the Europe 2020 target of 75 % and reveals large disparities among Member States;

H.  whereas it is important that a distinction is made between the new forms of employment that are emerging and the existence of precarious employment;

I.  whereas competence for social policy is shared by the European Union and the Member States; whereas the EU can only complement and support the Member States in this field;

J.  whereas the EU can only adopt minimum requirements for working conditions without harmonising the laws and regulations of the Member States;

K.  whereas a European Platform to tackle undeclared work has already been set up, enabling closer cross-border cooperation and joint action between the competent authorities of the Member States and other stakeholders in order to combat undeclared work effectively and efficiently;

L.  whereas precarious employment leads to market segmentation and exacerbates wages inequalities;

M.  whereas there is no common definition of precarious employment so far; whereas such a definition should be drawn up in close consultation with the social partners; whereas the type of contract cannot, on its own, presage the risk of precarious employment but, on the contrary, this risk depends on a wide range of factors;

N.  whereas standard employment can mean full-time and voluntary part-time regular employment on the basis of open-ended contracts; whereas each Member State has its own laws and practices establishing working conditions applicable to different types of employment contracts and internships; whereas there is no universally accepted definition of ‘standard employment’;

O.  whereas the most recent issues of representation, which are due to either weaknesses of the social partners’ organisations in certain sectors or to reforms in various European countries limiting social partners’ roles, impinge on all employment relationships;

P.  whereas some sectors such as agriculture, construction and arts are disproportionately affected by precarious employment; whereas precarious employment has also spread to other sectors in recent years such as aviation and the hotel industry(26);

Q.  whereas, according to recent studies, workers in mid-skilled manual and low-skilled occupations have less earnings, prospects and intrinsic job quality; whereas they report more frequent exposure to environmental and posture risks, with lower levels of both mental health and physical wellbeing(27);

R.  whereas women account for 46 % of the EU’s labour force and are particularly vulnerable to job insecurity resulting from discrimination, including in the area of pay, and whereas women earn around 16 % less than men in the EU; whereas women are more likely to work part-time or on time-limited or low-wage contracts and are therefore more at risk of precariousness; whereas such working conditions create lifelong losses in terms of income and protection, be it wages, pensions or social security benefits; whereas men are more likely to work on a full-time and permanent basis than women; whereas women are particularly affected by involuntary part-time work, bogus self-employment and undeclared work(28);

S.  whereas the employment rate in the EU is higher for men than for women; whereas the main reasons for women leaving the labour market are the need to care for children or elderly, their own illness or incapacity or other personal and family responsibilities; whereas women often face discrimination and hurdles in view of their existing or potential motherhood; whereas single women with dependent children face a particularly high risk of precariousness;

T.  whereas equality between men and women is a fundamental right that presupposes a guarantee of equal opportunities and equal treatment in all areas of life, and whereas policies aimed at ensuring such equality contribute to the promotion of smart and sustainable growth;

U.  whereas many workers who are in precarious employment or unemployed do not have the right to parental leave;

V.  whereas young workers are at a higher risk of finding themselves in a position of precarious employment; whereas the likelihood of being in a multiple disadvantaged position is twice as high for workers aged under 25 than for those aged 50 or more(29);

I. Towards decent work - addressing working conditions and precarious employment

1.  Calls on the Member States to take into account the following ILO indicators to determine the existence of an employment relationship:

- the work is carried out according to the instructions and under the control of another party;

- it involves the integration of the worker in the organisation of the enterprise;

- it is performed solely or mainly for the benefit of another person;

- it must be carried out personally by the worker;

- it is carried out within specific working hours or at a workplace specified or agreed by the party requesting the work;

- it is of a particular duration and has a certain continuity;

- it requires the worker’s availability or involves the provision of tools, materials and machinery by the party requesting the work;

- the worker is paid a periodic remuneration that constitutes his or her sole or principal source of income, and there may also be provision of payment in kind such as food, lodging or transport;

- the worker has entitlements such as weekly rest periods and annual holidays;

2.  Notes the Eurofound definition of atypical work, which refers to employment relationships not conforming to the standard or typical model of full-time, regular and open-ended employment with a single employer over a long time-span(30); stresses that the terms ‘atypical’ and ‘precarious’ cannot be used synonymously;

3.  Understands precarious employment to mean employment which does not comply with EU, international and national standards and laws and/or does not provide sufficient resources for a decent life or adequate social protection;

4.  Notes that some atypical forms of employment may entail greater risks of precariousness and insecurity, for example, involuntary part-time and fixed-term contract work, zero-hour contracts and unpaid internships and traineeships;

5.  Underlines that where the choice to engage in forms of part-time work is one made by the worker, it is necessary to ensure that such employment is economically and socially sustainable;

6.  Firmly believes that flexibility in the labour market is not about eroding workers’ rights in exchange for productivity and competitiveness, but is about successfully balancing workers’ protection with the opportunity for individuals and employers to agree ways of working that suit the needs of both;

7.  Notes that the risk of precariousness depends on the type of contract but also on the following factors:

- little or no job security owing to the non-permanent nature of the work, as in involuntary and often marginal part-time contracts, and, in some Member States, unclear working hours and duties that change owing to on-demand work;

- rudimentary protection from dismissal and lack of sufficient social protection in case of dismissal;

- insufficient remuneration for a decent living;

- no or limited social protection rights or benefits;

- no or limited protection against any form of discrimination;

- no or limited prospects for advancement in the labour market or career development and training;

- low level of collective rights and limited right to collective representation;

- a working environment that fails to meet minimum health and safety standards(31);

8.  Recalls the ILO definition of ‘decent work’, which states: ‘Decent work is work that is productive and delivers a fair income, with a safe workplace and social protection, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men’(32); encourages the ILO to add a living wage to that definition; encourages the Commission and the Member States to endorse this definition when reviewing or developing employment legislation;

9.  Recalls the success factors for good practice against precarious work, which are: a strong legal underpinning; involvement of social partners and works councils at the workplace; cooperation with relevant stakeholders; balancing flexibility and security,; sectoral focus; low administrative burden for employers; enforcement by labour inspectorates; and awareness-raising campaigns;

10.  Stresses the need to adopt counter-cyclical economic policies designed to protect workers’ purchasing power, in accordance with the constitutional traditions of the Member States;

11.  Notes that the ILO Decent Work Agenda is intended specifically to guarantee job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue as well as gender equality; highlights that decent work should specifically provide:

- a living wage, also guaranteeing the right of freedom of association;

- collective agreements in line with Member States’ practices;

- workers’ participation in company matters in line with Member States’ practices;

- respect of collective bargaining;

- equal treatment of workers in the same workplace;

- workplace health and safety;

- social security protection for workers and their dependents;

- provisions on working and rest time;

- protection against dismissal;

- access to training and lifelong learning;

- support for work-life balance for all workers; stresses that to deliver on these rights it is also essential to improve the implementation of labour and social law;

12.  Notes that numerous factors, such as digitalisation and automation, are contributing to the transformation of the nature of work, including the rise in new forms of employment; notes in this regard that new forms of work might need new, responsive and proportionate regulation in order to ensure that all forms of employment are covered;

13.  Reiterates in the context of digital jobs that digital platform workers and other intermediaries should be guaranteed adequate social and health coverage and protection;

14.  Emphasises that digitalisation must not be seen simply as something that destroys jobs, and stresses, on the contrary, that it affords opportunities for the development and extension of individual skills;

15.  Highlights that there are projected to be 756 000 unfilled job vacancies in the ICT sector in 2020, thus showing the need to improve the digital skills of the European workforce;

16.  Stresses that the economic crisis has given rise to migratory flows within the EU that have highlighted existing barriers to the free movement of persons between Member States and discrimination on the basis of nationality, exposing EU citizens to a situation of job insecurity;

17.  Stresses that precarious employment conditions, including undeclared work and bogus self-employment, have a long-term effect on mental health and physical wellbeing and can place workers at greater risk of poverty, social exclusion and deterioration of their fundamental rights;

18.  Highlights that workers with very short contracts are those most exposed to adverse conditions in the physical aspects of their work; highlights that the combination of job insecurity and lack of control over working time often derives from stress-related occupational hazards;

19.  Stresses that in certain sectors of the economy, flexible or atypical labour relations are being overused to the point of abuse;

20.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote policies that empower workers, interns and apprentices by strengthening social dialogue and promoting collective bargaining, ensuring that all workers regardless of their status can access and exercise their right to associate and to bargain collectively, freely and without fear of direct or indirect sanctions by the employer;

21.  Stresses the importance of the social partners in safeguarding workers’ rights, defining decent working conditions, setting decent wages and incomes in accordance with Member States’ laws and practices, and providing consultation and guidance to employers and workers;

22.  Calls on the Member States, in close cooperation with the social partners, to shore up career pathways so as to make it easier for people to adapt to the different situations they may face in their lives, in particular via lifelong vocational training, adequate unemployment benefits, the transferability of social rights, and active, effective labour market policies;

23.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote and guarantee effective protection and equal pay for male and female workers who perform work in the context of an employment relationship, through a comprehensive policy response that aims to tackle precarious employment and guarantee career paths and proper social security coverage;

24.  Stresses the importance of Member States’ labour inspectorates, and underlines that they should focus on the goal of monitoring, ensuring compliance with and improving working conditions, workplace health and safety, and combating illegal or undeclared work, and must under no circumstances be abused so as to become migration control mechanisms; points out the risk of discrimination against the most vulnerable workers, and strongly condemns the practice of companies who employ migrants without securing them their full rights and benefits and informing them on the matter; calls, therefore, on the Member States to provide labour inspectorates with adequate resources to ensure effective monitoring;

II. Proposals

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to tackle precarious employment, including undeclared work and bogus self-employment, in order to ensure that all types of work contracts offer decent working conditions with proper social security coverage, in line with the ILO Decent Work Agenda, Article 9 TFEU, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Social Charter;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to combat all practices which might lead to an increase of precarious employment, thereby contributing to the Europe 2020 target of reducing poverty;

27.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase job quality in non-standard jobs by providing, at the least, a set of minimum standards as regards social protection, minimum wage levels and access to training and development; stresses that this should be done while maintaining entry opportunities;

28.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that national social security systems are fit for purpose when it comes to new forms of employment;

29.  Calls on the Commission to assess new forms of employment driven by digitalisation; calls, especially, for an assessment of the legal status of labour market intermediaries and online platforms and of their liability; calls on the Commission to revise Council Directive 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 on an employer's obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship (the ‘Written Statement Directive’)(33) to take account of new forms of employment;

30.  Emphasises the potential that the collaborative economy has, in particular as regards new jobs; calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess the potential new employment norms created by the collaborative economy; strongly emphasises the need to increase the protection afforded to workers in this sector by stepping up transparency with regard to their status, the information they are given and non-discrimination;

31.  Calls for the Commission to proceed with its targeted review of the Posting of Workers Directive, and to review the Agency Workers Directive to ensure fundamental social rights for all workers, including equal pay for equal work at the same location;

32.  Underlines the need for public and private investment promoting in particular those sectors of the economy which promise the largest possible multiplier effect, in order to promote upward social convergence and cohesion in the Union and the creation of decent jobs; stresses in this context the need to support SMEs and start-ups;

33.  Stresses the need to tackle undeclared work, since it reduces tax and social security revenues and creates precarious and poor working conditions and unfair competition between workers; welcomes the creation of a European Platform to enhance cooperation in tackling undeclared work;

34.  Notes that given the number of workers, particularly young people, who are now leaving their countries of origin for other Member States in search of employment opportunities, there is an urgent need to develop appropriate measures to guarantee that no worker is left uncovered by social and labour rights protection; calls, in this regard, on the Commission and the Member States to further improve EU labour mobility while upholding the principle of equal treatment, safeguarding wages and social standards and guaranteeing full portability of social rights; calls on each Member State to establish social and employment policies for equal rights and equal pay at the same place of work;

35.  Notes with concern the weakening of collective bargaining and of the coverage of collective agreements; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote strategic policies of universal coverage of workers under collective agreements, safeguarding and enhancing at the same time the role of trade unions and employers' organisations;

36.  Recognises the major role played by social partners regarding the Union directives on part-time work, fixed-term contracts and temporary agency work, and encourages the Commission, in collaboration with the social partners, to regulate new forms of employment where appropriate; calls on Eurofound to study how social partners develop strategies to ensure job quality and tackle precarious employment;

37.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, within their respective competences, to ensure that individual self-employed workers who are legally considered a sole- member company have the right to collective bargaining and to freely associate;

38.  Recalls that according to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and to Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (the Working Time Directive)(34), every worker has the right to limitation of maximum working hours, to daily and weekly rest periods and to an annual period of paid leave; stresses the need to ensure that those rights apply to all workers, including on-demand workers, workers in marginal part-time employment and crowd workers; recalls that the Working Time Directive is a health and safety measure; calls for the enforcement of the ECJ decisions confirming that on-call time in the workplace is working time and must be followed by compensatory rest;

39.  Recalls that marginal part-time employment is marked by lower levels of job security, fewer career opportunities, less investment in training by employers, and a higher share of low pay; calls on the Member States and the Commission to encourage measures supporting longer hours for those who want to work more;

40.  Recalls that according to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, everyone has the right to access to vocational training and lifelong learning; calls on the Member States to ensure that vocational and continuing training are also available to workers in atypical employment relationships; recalls that upskilling measures are particularly important in a fast-changing digital economy; recalls that skills shortages and mismatches contribute to high unemployment levels; welcomes recent initiatives to tackle skills shortages;

41.  Calls for a Skills Guarantee as a new right for everyone, at every stage of life, to acquire fundamental skills for the 21st century, including literacy, numeracy, digital and media literacy, critical thinking, social skills and relevant skills needed for the green and circular economy, taking into account emerging industries and key growth sectors and ensuring full outreach to people in disadvantaged situations, including people with disabilities, asylum seekers, the long-term unemployed and other under-represented groups; stresses that education systems should be inclusive, providing good quality education to the whole population, enabling people to be active European citizens, preparing them to be able to learn and adapt throughout their lives, and responding to societal and labour market needs;

42.  Stresses that the policies of the Member States should be formulated and implemented in accordance with national law and practice and in consultation and close cooperation with employers’ and workers’ organisations;

43.  Recalls that precarious employment not only harms the individual but also entails significant costs for society, in terms of tax losses and higher public expenditure in the long run, as well as of support for those suffering the long-term effects of income loss and difficult working conditions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the use of open-ended contracts and the exchange of best practices between Member States in order to tackle precarious employment;

44.  Recalls that workers in the informal economy face a high level of precariousness; calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt policies adapted to this group that protect them by tackling their problems irrespective of their residence status;

45.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to combat undeclared work, bogus self-employment and all forms of illegal employment practices which undermine workers’ rights and social security systems; reiterates its view that the prevention of zero-hour contracts should be considered in all future employment policies;

46.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess the working conditions of substitute workers in the public sector and their impact on the quality of public services;

47.  Emphasises that precarious employment is mainly suffered by the most vulnerable workers who are at risk of discrimination, poverty and exclusion; recalls in particular that having a disability, being of a different ethnic origin, religion or belief, or being a woman increases the risk of being faced with precarious employment conditions; condemns all forms of precariousness regardless of the contractual situation;

48.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the effective protection of vulnerable workers; urges the Commission and the Member States to take effective action to combat discrimination against women in the labour market, with particular emphasis on work-life balance and eliminating the gender pay gap; calls on the Commission to assess whether Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation is suited for new forms of employment;

49.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess all legislation targeting aspects of precarious work for its gender impact; considers it necessary to target legislative and non-legislative measures to the needs of women in precarious work, as otherwise an already over-represented group will continue to be overly affected;

50.  Considers that under no circumstances should increased demands for flexibility on the labour market result in women continuing to be over-represented in atypical employment and among those with insecure employment status;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to monitor and tackle the phenomenon of ‘mobbing’ in the workplace, including the harassment of pregnant female employees or any disadvantage experienced after returning from maternity leave; urges Member States to comply with and enforce legislation on maternity rights so that women do not suffer disadvantages in terms of pensions because they have been mothers during their working lives; stresses that maternity leave must be accompanied by effective measures that protect the rights of pregnant women and new, breastfeeding and single mothers, reflecting the recommendations of the ILO and the World Health Organisation;

52.  Reiterates its demand that people in all employment relationships and the self-employed should be able to accumulate entitlements providing income security in circumstances such as unemployment, ill-health, old age, career breaks for child-raising or other caring situations, or for reasons of training;

53.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure decent working conditions for all first work experience opportunities for young people, such as internships, apprenticeships or opportunities under the Youth Guarantee; encourages the Member States to adopt and implement quality frameworks for internships, traineeships and apprenticeships that ensure workers’ rights and the educational focus of work experience opportunities for young people;

54.  Calls on the Commission in particular and on the Member States to take steps to combat insecure employment among young people; underscores how important it is that the Commission should implement the youth guarantee in this regard;

55.  Recommends that Member States ensure that all age groups of young people have access to high-quality free public education, particularly at the higher levels of education and training, since it has been shown that raising the level of instruction helps to reduce labour inequalities between men and women;

56.  Stresses that the use by the Commission and Member States of the ILO understanding of ‘worker’ rather than the more narrowly defined ‘employee’ could contribute to a better application and understanding of fundamental principles and rights at work;

57.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote entrepreneurship and the cooperative movement among workers in multi-service companies and the burgeoning sector of the collaborative economy and digital platforms, with a view to reducing the risks posed by business models concerning the rights and working conditions of workers;

58.  Points out that short-term contracts in the agriculture sector reflect the seasonal nature of farm work; calls for this major natural constraint to be respected by enabling farmers to continue recruiting on a seasonal basis and sparing them the burden of additional red tape in the recruitment and management of their workforce;

59.  Calls on the Commission to promote and raise awareness of the protection rights of seasonal workers, and calls on the Member States to regulate the social and legal status of seasonal workers, to safeguard their health and safety and hygiene conditions at work and to provide them with social security cover while complying with the provisions of Article 23 of Directive 2014/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014(35) on the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers, including those concerning ‘equal pay and equal social protection’; emphasises the need to provide all seasonal workers with comprehensive information on their employment and social security rights, including pension rights, also taking account of the cross-border aspect of seasonal work;

60.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, p. 12.

(2)

OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.

(3)

OJ L 327, 5.12.2008, p. 9.

(4)

OJ L 18, 21.1.1997, p. 1.

(5)

OJ L 159, 28.5.2014, p. 11.

(6)

OJ L 177, 4.7.2008, p. 6.

(7)

OJ C 70E, 8.3.2012, p. 1.

(8)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0321.

(9)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0059.

(10)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0346.

(11)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0360.

(12)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0010.

(13)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.303.01.0054.01.ENG&toc=OJ:C:2016:303:TOC

(14)

www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/.../IPOL_STU(2016)587285_EN.pdf.

(15)

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef1398en.pdf

(16)

https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef1461en.pdf

(17)

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef1639en.pdf

(18)

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef1634en.pdf

(19)

https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary

(20)

http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_INSTRUMENT_ID:312535.

(21)

www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_dialogue/---.../wcms_164286.pdf.

(22)

www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---.../wcms_534496.pdf.

(23)

www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---.../wcms_490959.pdf.

(24)

Full-time permanent contracts account for 59 % of total employment in the EU; self-employment with employees for 4 %, freelance work for 11 %, temporary agency work for 1 %, fixed-term work for 7 %, apprenticeship or traineeship for 2 %, marginal part-time work (less than 20 hours per week) for 9 %, and part-time permanent work for 7 %.

(25)

See ILO report of 2016 on ‘Building a social pillar for European convergence’.

(26)

See study of 2016 on ‘Precarious Employment in Europe: Patterns, trends and policy strategies’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/587285/IPOL_STU%282016%29587285_EN.pdf

(27)

Eurofound (2014), ‘Occupational profiles in working conditions: Identification of groups with multiple disadvantages’

(28)

www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/.../IPOL_STU(2016)587285_EN.pdf.

(29)

Eurofound (2014), ‘Occupational profiles in working conditions: Identification of groups with multiple disadvantages’

(30)

See: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/atypical-work

(31)

See the resolution of Parliament of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers - OJ C 70E, 8.3.2012, p. 1.

(32)

ILO report of 14 November 2016 on non-standard employment around the world, http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_534326/lang--en/index.htm.

(33)

OJ L 288, 18.10.1991, p. 32.

(34)

OJ L 299, 18.11.2003, p. 9.

(35)

OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 375.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

According to the findings of a number of studies incorporated by the rapporteur in this report, atypical forms of employment are manifestly on the rise in the EU. The number of workers with - often involuntary - fixed-term and part-time employment contracts has increased considerably in the EU over the last 15 years.

At the same time, new forms of employment are blurring the boundaries between dependent employment and self-employment, leading to a decline in job quality and a rise in bogus self-employment.

Although the economic crisis was not the operative cause of these new precarious forms of employment, the inadequate and unsuitable countermeasures taken by the EU have merely exacerbated the problem. These include austerity measures and memorandum provisions that have stifled growth, unravelled the social fabric and impoverished large segments of the population, mainly workers. The apparent growth in current employment rates conceals increasing recourse to precarious employment in the form of zero-hours contracts, bogus self-employment and involuntary part-time employment, failing to ensure workers decent living standards or enjoyment of their full rights at the workplace.

Social deprivation and retrograde labour provisions have compelled the European Parliament to get to grips with the problem of precarious employment and conditions of employment, for example in its reports on social dumping(1)or women in precarious employment(2). This report follows on from a number of others and the aim of the rapporteur was to help achieve a basic minimum consensus in the political debate regarding what is meant by precarious employment, introducing a number of elements, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of decent work.

Agreement on a basic definition relates to standard employment work, atypical employment and decent work. Standard employment is taken to mean full-time open-ended contracts, whereas atypical employment includes ongoing (and marginal) part-time, temporary, fixed term and zero-hours contracts, traineeships and undeclared or informal work.

A basic definition of precarious employment could take as its point of departure a non-standard form employment characterised by at least one of the following:

  - little or no job security owing to the non-permanent nature of the work, non-specific contractual terms or the absence of a written contract, for example in the case of case of involuntary part-time or temporary work or employment with unclear working hours and duties that vary in accordance with the employer’s wishes;

  - low remuneration, sometimes paid on an unofficial or undefined basis;

  - little or nothing by way of social protection or related entitlements;

  - no protection against discrimination;

  - little or no prospect of advancement in the labour market;

  - little or nothing by way of collective representation rights;

  - non-compliance with minimum health and safety standards at the workplace;

The ILO defines decent work as full and productive employment, ensuring dignity, fair remuneration, a safe workplace, freedom of expression of opinion, freedom to organise and participate in decisions that affect their lives, equal opportunities, equal treatment for all and gender equality.

New challenges such as digitalisation, facing both workers and employers, are resulting in a radical transformation of work, with atypical forms of employment becoming increasingly prevalent, a trend that looks set to continue unabated unless the new regulatory framework provisions are put into effect. For this reason, the Commission and the Member States must ensure decent conditions of employment in new jobs generated by digitalisation. Precarious working conditions have a long-term impact in terms of social protection and pensions, placing workers at greater risk of poverty and deterioration of their fundamental rights.

It is therefore essential to ensure that social protection and protection under collective agreements and through collective bargaining rights are extended to all workers. The Commission and Member States must therefore ensure effective protection at the workplace and introduce comprehensive policies designed to reduce and phase out insecure forms of employment.

It is necessary in this connection to empower workers through social dialogue and greater recourse to collective bargaining, ensuring that all workers enjoy unrestricted freedom of association and free collective bargaining without fear of any consequences. Labour inspectorates and measures by the social partners also have an important role to play in upholding the right of workers, ensuring decent remuneration in line with the laws and practices in each Member State, well as providing guidance and information for employers.

Labour inspectorates should focus on the monitoring and improvement of working conditions and measures to put an end to undeclared employment.

Practices followed by companies that recruit migrants while failing to ensure respect for all their rights as employees are totally inadmissible.

The Commission and the Member States could combat atypical and insecure employment in line with the ILO Decent Work Agenda and the European Social Charter. Policies are also needed to promote public investment, upward social convergence and the creation of decent work. The erosion of protection provided under collective agreements and collective bargaining rights for workers is particularly alarming and the Commission and Member States should therefore seek to promote strategic universal coverage for workers under collective agreements and to safeguard the role of trade unions as social partners.

Finally, your rapporteur considers that the Commission and Member States should ensure effective protection for workers, especially those affected by insecurity and precariousness, giving special priority to female workers, young workers, older workers, workers in the informal (shadow) economy, migrant workers and workers with disabilities.

(1)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A8-2016-0255+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

(2)

European Parliament resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers (2010/2018(INI)), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2010-0365&language=EN 


OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (28.2.2017)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on working conditions and precarious employment

(2016/2221(INI))

Rapporteur: Viorica Dăncilă

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas agriculture and the agri-food industry account for 6 % of EU GDP, 15 million businesses and 46 million jobs;

B.  whereas the geography, topography and accessibility of the land, in particular in island, mountain and remote areas and the outermost regions (ORs), necessarily make employment and working conditions in the farming industry more challenging and insecure;

C.  whereas these inherent problems are compounded by short-term factors, such as economic uncertainties and unpredictable weather, which, as can be seen today, make the situation of workers in the agricultural sector all the more difficult, leading to a decline in the number of farmers and small family farms, and whereas population ageing and depopulation are trends which are particularly pronounced in rural areas of the EU;

D.  whereas the crisis of recent years has contributed to a deepening of the crisis in the agricultural sector and affected farmers’ capacity to invest and create employment, to the detriment of modernisation, innovation, the involvement of young people in farming and generational renewal; whereas common agricultural policy (CAP) investment is not yet in line with the EU’s Europe 2020 sustainability targets given that it is not yet investing at least one euro in five in sustainable farming; whereas agriculture must be allowed to adapt to meet challenging circumstances by fostering innovation;

E.  whereas age structure in the agricultural sector is a cause for concern given that since 2010 only 7.5 % of farmers have been under 35 years old and more than 4.5 million of those now running farms are aged over 65; whereas in the period 2000-2012, 4.8 million full-time jobs were lost in the EU agricultural industry, 70 % of which were in the new Member States and 93 % of which concerned self-employment, and whereas, in that connection, it is difficult to accurately assess the number of people employed in agriculture since ‘illegal’ employment is, by its very nature, not included in the available data(1);

F.  whereas, in many Member States, women in rural regions have limited access to employment in farming or other sectors of the labour market and experience a wider pay gap than in other areas, yet they play an extremely important role in the development and social fabric of rural areas, particularly on farms;

G.  whereas agricultural work is often weather-dependent and seasonal;

H.  whereas EU farmers’ average annual incomes have stagnated or even declined over the past 10 years, while production costs have continuously increased and large investments and the financial risks necessary to keep their farms going put them in an increasingly precarious situation, resulting in a substantial drop in the number of farms and the threat of many job losses in rural areas;

I.  whereas many agricultural activities are carried out by assisting family members, often without social protection;

J.  whereas social and economic circumstances and living conditions have changed substantially over recent years and whereas there are large disparities in this respect between and within Member States;

K.  whereas the EU’s agri-food export sector is growing steadily and playing a key role in driving economic recovery and, as a result of the number of new businesses being set up, also in job creation;

1.  Stresses that farmers and farm workers are, by virtue of their profession, more exposed to a range of external factors that make job prospects precarious and insecure, such as price and market fluctuations and imbalances in the agri-food chain, and that unpredictable weather also has severe effects and impacts, particularly on the ORs and mountain regions; considers that remunerative farm gate prices covering production costs are fundamental to secure farmers’ incomes in the long run; considers, nonetheless, that income-stabilisation and risk-management tools and agricultural mutual funds could help make farmworkers less vulnerable, as well as strengthen the farmers’ position in the food supply chain;

2.  Calls on Member States to exchange best practice and to consider new innovative ways of developing an adaptable and flexible labour market to meet the challenges of a rural economy;

3.  Stresses that a stable income is essential if farmers are to gain access to loans;

4.  Draws attention to the specific case of seasonal workers, whose working conditions are particularly precarious; understands ‘seasonal workers’ to be workers who have entered into open-ended or fixed-term employment contracts, the duration and renewal of which are contingent to a major degree on seasonal factors, such as the changing weather, public holidays and/or the timing of harvests;

5.  Recalls that Directive 2014/36/EU on the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers establishes a minimum standard of rights; calls on the Member States to make sure that it is correctly implemented, and asks the Commission to submit a progress report on its implementation by September 2019;

6.  Calls on the Commission to promote and raise awareness of the protection rights of seasonal workers and on the Member States to regulate the social and legal status of seasonal workers, to safeguard their hygiene, health and safety conditions at work and to provide them with social security cover, while complying with Article 23 of Directive 2014/36/EU ensuring equal treatment with nationals of the host Member State, including ‘equal pay and equal social protection’; emphasises the need to provide all seasonal workers with comprehensive information on employment and social security rights, including pensions, taking into account also the cross-border aspect of seasonal work;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to define minimum working conditions in agriculture in order to ensure safety at work, basic and further training facilities and workers’ rights;

8.  Calls on the Commission, together with the Member States, to explore schemes to give seasonal workers long-term employment, such as the implementation of pluriactivity contracts across the EU or even a European Agreement;

9.  Calls on the Commission to disqualify from CAP and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) support any employer who has been convicted of breaching worker safety regulations or using undeclared workers;

10.  Notes reports of cases of abuse of migrant workers’ rights by organised crime groups operating in the EU who exploit insufficient job market transparency; urges the Member States to increase their oversight of migrant workers’ employment conditions; calls on the Commission, together with the Member States, to address the cases of immigrant exploitation in the agricultural sector in those regions where farm workers work for almost no money and live in deplorable conditions; stresses the need to take effective action, including targeted inspections and checks, to ensure that farm workers have decent working and living conditions and emphasises the need to ensure that employment rights and labour laws are upheld;

11.  Calls on the Commission to gauge the scale of illegal employment networks in the EU by conducting investigations and compiling statistics, in particular in the parts of the EU in which undeclared work and farm labour exploitation are most common;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up support for technical training for seasonal farm workers to address the relatively high risk of accidents as well as structural and seasonal unemployment, while involving producers’ organisations in this process, in relation to both the drawing-up of training plans and dissemination and incentives for workers, as well as for actions to raise workers’ awareness of their rights, thereby averting the possible exploitation of workers;

13.  Points out that over 4.5 million farmers are over 65 and that farmers aged under 35 account for only 6 % of those in charge of farms; notes that young people and women have particular problems finding jobs in rural areas in or outside agriculture or starting a farm of their own; calls on the Commission and the Member States to efficiently encourage the uptake of the measures provided for under the CAP to help young farmers set up, and to ensure that funding for young farmers and support programmes for women in rural areas ensure decent jobs with fair wages in agriculture and in upstream and downstream sectors;

14.  Recalls the importance of a strong CAP which is able to help young farmers play a secure role on the market, encourage the uptake of farming and guarantee that farmers remain in farming in the long term; points out that investment in rural infrastructure will help increase the attractiveness of the countryside, develop the local economy in a sustainable manner, and draw workers towards agriculture and avoid depopulation; calls on the Member States to use the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) purposefully to create sustainable jobs in farming in order to stimulate employment in rural areas;

15.  Stresses the importance of investment in ICT in rural areas, which is crucial in keeping rural communities connected to the global world, crucial for those who are seeking work, crucial for those looking to start their own business and crucial for those who live in the most isolated parts of our rural communities;

16.  Urges action to tackle the gender gap in rural areas and improve the situation of women’s employment, such as women’s working conditions and access to land; points out that the gender pay gap is more than 10 % higher in rural areas than elsewhere; stresses the need for up-to-date statistics on farm ownership and female employment in rural areas to inform and facilitate gender mainstreaming in EU agricultural and rural policies in line with the principle of equality and non-discrimination; calls, furthermore, on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate women’s equality in the labour market and work-life balance in rural areas, particularly regarding income, social and pension rights, promotion of new qualifications and opportunities for women, and by tackling barriers to their involvement in agricultural employment, such as unequal access to credit, technical equipment and other important resources such as land; highlights the importance of never confusing family work with precarious work, recalling that family farms make up around 85 % of all farms in Europe and account for 68 % of the total utilised agricultural area, which means that it is important to establish a legal framework for this type of work at European level, with its own status, rights and obligations; points out that, in the ORs, the search for employment solutions, especially in times of economic contraction, is compromised by the lack of interconnectivity, and, given the importance of agriculture in these regions, takes the view that the funds under the CAP ought to continue to apply positive discrimination to these territories facing specific constraints, as recognised in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, given the multiplier effect of these funds in terms of promoting other related activities, such as agro-industry, tourism, nature conservation, energy production and the circular economy, in a way that complements the multi-fund strategy for more cohesion and balanced territorial development;

17.  Emphasises the need for a proportion of EU cohesion funding to be granted to disadvantaged regions, such as mountain areas and the ORs, so as to ensure the fair creation, maintenance and development of decent working conditions and payment in all EU regions;

18.  Calls on industry to take up all opportunities arising from innovation to develop precision farming which is accessible to all, thus empowering people with disabilities, promoting gender equality and broadening the skills base and employment opportunities in rural communities;

19.  Calls on all the Member States to offer young farmers long-term prospects in order to address the problem of rural depopulation, to implement a comprehensive generational renewal strategy and, to this end, to make full use of all the opportunities available under the new CAP to support young farmers and new entrants to farming, with particular regard to the first- and second-pillar aid measures for young farmers, and also to help new entrants over the age of 40 to set up in farming;

20.  Calls on the Commission to put into practice the recommendations set out in the Andrieu report (‘How can the CAP improve job creation in rural areas?’), which was adopted by Parliament on 27 October 2016, and in particular to promote and maximise the full capacity of funds from the EAFRD in an effort to develop a genuine social economy and a buoyant market economy in rural areas;

21.  Calls on the Commission to harness potential new synergies between the EFSI and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs), in particular the EAFRD and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), in order to leverage investment designed to improve working conditions and combat precarious employment;

22.  Calls on the Member States to continue to strengthen the role of the social partners and social protection agencies when necessary, and to provide effective instruments, including adequate inspections and controls, in rural areas to combat undeclared work and improve safety and well-being at work, with a view to promoting the integration of all types of farm worker, particularly young people, women and migrant workers, even – and above all – those engaged in seasonal work;

23.  Calls on the Commission to encourage, and the Member States to implement, simplified administrative requirements, and to cut red tape relating to social security, taxation and employment, making the hiring process less complex and less redundant; calls on the Member States at the same time to implement such simplifications correctly in order to reduce the complexity and volume of regulation;

24.  Notes the regular, repeated and cumulative professional exposure of farmers and agri-food workers to cocktails of hazardous substances which are suspected to cause specific illnesses possibly leading to reproductive disorders and carcinogenic effects; notes, furthermore, the importance of raising awareness of the risks associated with those substances, providing training for manipulation, use and storage thereof and reducing the risk of exposure, while guaranteeing that measures intended to limit exposure are sufficiently implemented and controlled;

25.  Recalls also the importance of a strong CAP which is able to help young farmers play a bigger role in the market and also to create living conditions conducive to their remaining in farming in the long term.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

28.2.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

35

3

0

Members present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, José Bové, Daniel Buda, Nicola Caputo, Matt Carthy, Viorica Dăncilă, Michel Dantin, Paolo De Castro, Jean-Paul Denanot, Albert Deß, Herbert Dorfmann, Luke Ming Flanagan, Beata Gosiewska, Martin Häusling, Anja Hazekamp, Esther Herranz García, Jan Huitema, Peter Jahr, Ivan Jakovčić, Jarosław Kalinowski, Elisabeth Köstinger, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Mairead McGuinness, Ulrike Müller, James Nicholson, Marijana Petir, Laurenţiu Rebega, Bronis Ropė, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Tibor Szanyi, Marc Tarabella, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Franc Bogovič, Michela Giuffrida, Anthea McIntyre, Susanne Melior, Sofia Ribeiro, Miguel Viegas

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Pilar Ayuso

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

35

+

ALDE

Jan Huitema, Ivan Jakovčić, Ulrike Müller

ECR

Jørn Dohrmann, Anthea McIntyre, James Nicholson

ENF

Laurenţiu Rebega

GUE/NGL

Matt Carthy, Luke Ming Flanagan, Anja Hazekamp

PPE

Franc Bogovič, Daniel Buda, Michel Dantin, Albert Deß, Herbert Dorfmann, Esther Herranz García, Peter Jahr, Jarosław Kalinowski, Elisabeth Köstinger, Mairead McGuinness, Marijana Petir, Czesław Adam Siekierski

S&D

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, Nicola Caputo, Paolo De Castro, Jean-Paul Denanot, Viorica Dăncilă, Michela Giuffrida, Susanne Melior, Tibor Szanyi, Marc Tarabella

VERTS/ALE

José Bové, Martin Häusling, Bronis Ropė

3

-

ECR

Beata Gosiewska, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk

EFDD

John Stuart Agnew

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

European Commission – Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. 2014 Management Plan (July).


OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (9.2.2017)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on working conditions and precarious employment

(2016/2221(INI))

Rapporteur: João Pimenta Lopes

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

–  having regard to Draft General Recommendation No 28, of 2010, on the Core Obligations of States Parties under Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2020,

–  having regard to the 2011 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017,

A.  whereas equality between men and women is a fundamental right that presupposes a guarantee of equal opportunities and equal treatment in all sectors of life, and whereas policies aimed at ensuring such equality contribute to the promotion of smart and sustainable growth;

B.  whereas the resolution of 15 September 2016 on application of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (‘Employment Equality Directive’);

C.  whereas all forms of discrimination, including discrimination on grounds of gender and sex, must be firmly combated;

D.  whereas ‘sex’ is defined as referring to biological differences between men and women, while ‘gender’ refers to socially constructed identities, roles and attributes for women and men and the social and cultural meaning that society gives to those biological differences, and whereas it is gender that results in hierarchical relationships between women and men and in the distribution and assignment of power and rights favouring men and disadvantaging women;

E.  whereas ‘reducing the gender pay, earnings and pension gaps and thus fighting poverty among women’ is one of the priority areas set out by the Commission in its document entitled ‘Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019’;

F.  whereas it is deplorable to note that women suffer particular discrimination in relation to access to the labour market, work for substantially lower wages and constitute the majority of the workforce in part-time jobs, often taken involuntarily; whereas they have to face major pension disparities, more uncertain and precarious employment ties, and are at greater risk of poverty than men, with single mothers, older women living alone and disabled women most affected; whereas families with three or more children also face a higher risk of poverty; whereas maternity represents unacceptable grounds for discrimination against women in relation to accessing and remaining in the labour market;

G.  whereas in 2014 the employment rate in the EU for people aged between 15 and 64 stood at 59.6 % for women and 70.1 % for men; whereas this gender employment gap is smaller for higher levels of professional qualification; whereas the 2016 Eurofound Report on the gender employment gap estimates the economic costs of this gap at a substantial EUR 370 billion or 2.8 % of GDP for the EU-28; whereas the female employment rate has risen only slightly since 2008, with the convergence in employment driven by the decline in the male employment rate(1);

H.  whereas a glass ceiling still exists for women on the labour market, which is partly attributable to the fact that women are viewed with reference to their reproductive characteristics, which means that women’s career opportunities are hampered by the very possibility of pregnancy later in working life;

I.  whereas the economic crisis has impacted on the entire European Union, with rural areas especially experiencing devastating levels of unemployment, poverty and depopulation, which affect women in particular;

J.  whereas very often single women with dependent children are compelled to accept atypical and precarious work in order to reconcile their private and working lives;

K.  whereas unemployment rates soared in the period 2008-2014 owing to the profound economic crisis that raged across the EU, and in 2014 the female unemployment rate (10.4 %) was still higher than the rate for men (10.2 %);

L.  whereas in 2015, 33 % of women worked part-time as against 10 % of men(2), and a significant proportion of them were working part-time on an involuntary basis;

M.  whereas on average in 2014, women’s hourly pay was 16.1 % lower than the corresponding pay for men; whereas women’s economic situation in the household is also characterised by marked inequalities, and where the household comprises a single woman, 40 % have incomes in the lowest quintile against 18 % of men, while where the household comprises a women working full-time and a man working part-time, 30 % of women have incomes in the lowest quintile, as against 6 % of men in a similar situation;

N.  whereas the data show that the main reasons for women leaving the labour market are the need to care for children or elderly people (27 %), their own illness or incapacity (23 %), and other personal or family responsibilities (18 %);

O.  whereas in the period 2008-2014, so-called NEETs (those not in employment, education or training) in the 15-29 age group showed a percentage increase, with women being the most heavily represented group (17.1 % in 2014), and whereas 34 % of these women are in this situation because of family responsibilities and 16.5 % are long-term unemployed;

P.  whereas this labour and social context is at the root of the pensions gap, which on average stands at 40 %;

Q.  whereas women are particularly affected by precarious work and various forms of ‘atypical work’, and are increasingly having to contend with the phenomenon of ‘worker and career individualisation’, an approach which bolsters the more broadly-based offensive against collective bargaining;

R.  whereas it is vital to ensure that women have the right to jobs with rights and the right to motherhood without being penalised for it, since women continue to be worst affected and suffer most discrimination; whereas examples of this discrimination include pressure from employers on women attending job interviews at which they are asked whether they have children and how old they are, with the aim of influencing women’s decisions and opting for childless workers who are ‘more available’, along with growing economic and work-related pressures on female employees not to take maternity leave;

S.  whereas many workers who are in precarious employment or unemployed do not have the right to parental leave;

T.  whereas it is deplorable to note that the EU’s macroeconomic and austerity policies have resulted in increasing levels of poverty and inequality, particularly affecting women, in the southern European Member States such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal; whereas this has adverse repercussions on the conditions in which their families live, particularly their children;

U.  whereas the EU’s macroeconomic and austerity policies have had a detrimental effect on both flexible labour policies and job security, and have had a severe impact on social and public-sector jobs and childcare and elderly care services, with major repercussions for female employment; whereas women, particularly single mothers, migrants and younger and older women, are most affected by poverty and social exclusion, a situation exacerbated by those same policies;

V.  whereas levels of poverty and social exclusion in the EU-28 remain extremely high, standing at more than 118.6 million people in 2015 (23.7 % of the population), and women are particularly affected, with more than 62.4 million women in this situation (24.4 %);

W.  whereas precarious employment is a contributory factor towards women’s poor mental and physical health, subjecting them to five times more stress, anxiety and depression than colleagues, whether male or female, who are employed on indefinite contracts;

X.  whereas all too often women are subject to various forms of gender discrimination at their workplace, including being employed at lower levels and being passed over for promotion, along with verbal, psychological and physical harassment and abuse (sexual or otherwise);

Y.  whereas social inequalities and inequalities between men and women can be combated only through policies guaranteeing a better distribution of wealth, based on measures to ensure decent working conditions, an increase in real wages, action to promote labour regulation and labour protection, in particular through collective bargaining and the regulation of working time, and guaranteed universal free access to high-quality public healthcare and education services;

Z.  whereas it is important to establish a set of measures to remove existing obstacles and guarantee genuinely equal opportunities for women and men in terms of having access to the labour market and to decent work, and of carrying out that work;

AA.  whereas it is important to tackle and eliminate undeclared work and unpaid overtime that increase poverty and social exclusion; whereas women domestic workers in general, and migrant and fictitiously self-employed women workers in particular, are especially vulnerable and face particularly precarious working conditions;

1.  Is alarmed at the disastrous long-term impact of austerity measures on women’s economic empowerment and on gender equality, with rising unemployment and cuts in public services and benefits resulting in a care crisis; underlines that reductions in care services, cuts in child, disability and carers’ benefits and reductions in tax credits, cuts in statutory leave, including parental and paternity leave, tend to shift care services on to unpaid women who, as a result, are unable to pursue insurable employment or may only be employed on a part-time basis;

2.  Notes that combating poverty and inequalities between men and women necessarily entails a fairer distribution of wealth and better employment legislation, notably through collective bargaining, higher wages, and implementation of the principle of equal pay for equal work and work of equal value, as well as social protection; considers it urgent to develop an EU-level definition of work of equal value, taking into account ECJ case law, to ensure that factors such as working conditions, the responsibility conferred on workers and the physical or mental requirements of the work are taken into consideration; considers it urgent to address the issue of equal pay for ‘work of equal value’; calls on the Commission to promote gender equality in the workplace, including by means of awareness-raising campaigns on the Gender Pay Gap, the European Equal Pay Gap and the exchange of good practices;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to monitor, protect and tackle the phenomenon of ‘mobbing’ in the workplace, including the harassment of pregnant female employees or any disadvantage experienced after returning from maternity leave; calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide both gender- and parenthood- or motherhood-disaggregated data regarding pay and pension gaps;

4.  Considers that, in order to combat poverty and lack of equality, vigorous measures need to be taken against discrimination and harassment on the labour market in conjunction with a more equitable distribution policy; considers that a zero target for sexual harassment should be instituted as a code of conduct on the European labour market;

5.  Calls on the Member States to take measures to eliminate the pay and pension gaps between women and men and to put an end to all forms of legislation and policies legitimising precarious employment; calls on the Member States to implement labour legislation that promotes labour regulation, collective bargaining, social protection and higher wages, and to invest in the creation of permanent jobs and in lifelong learning and professional training as means of overcoming gender inequalities; likewise urges Member States to give priority to drafting active policies and taking positive action to boost women’s participation in the labour market and their economic independence, and to eliminate the gaps between men and women in terms of wages, the levels at which they are employed, promotions, earnings and pensions;

6.  Calls on Member States to build up and strengthen national labour inspection bodies by providing them with the necessary conditions and financial and human resources to give them an effective presence on the ground and thereby enable them to combat job insecurity, unregulated work, and labour and wage discrimination, particularly from the point of view of gender equality;

7.  Considers that under no circumstances should the increased demands for flexibility on the labour market result in women continuing to be over-represented in atypical employment and among those with insecure employment status;

8.  Notes that measures to increase wage transparency are fundamental to closing the gender pay gap; calls on the Member States to implement the Commission’s recommendation on wage transparency;

9.  Calls on the Member States to introduce legislation to protect or augment maternity, paternity and parental rights, and asks for this protection also to be reflected in employment legislation; urges the Commission to review, while respecting Parliament’s position, the existing maternity directive with high-level standards, including the possible adoption of measures guaranteeing the allocation of parental leave allowances that are always calculated on the basis of 100 % of reference pay, ensuring that women are paid and covered by social protection for the duration of their maternity leave, with a view to safeguarding families’ social and economic well-being, and promoting the take-up of parental leave by fathers; stresses that maternity leave must be accompanied by effective measures that protect the rights of pregnant women and new, breastfeeding and single mothers, reflecting the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation; stresses that the comprehensive legislative proposal should have equality between men and women as its legal basis, ensuring the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of women and men at work;

10.  Calls on Member States and the Commission to reformulate tax and benefit systems that give financial incentives for the spouse earning less to withdraw from the labour market or to work part-time, as this may run counter to a higher take-up rate of parental leave by fathers and brings negative consequences for women, such as reinforcing the gender pay, care and pension gap;

11.  Urges Member States to adopt legislation to guarantee women’s inclusion in the social security system, protecting women workers during periods of unemployment and guaranteeing the right to obtain a pension;

12.  Urges Member States to comply with and enforce legislation on maternity rights so that women do not suffer disadvantages in terms of pensions because they have been mothers during their working lives;

13.  Calls on the Member States to promote public policies to support families, with a particular emphasis on the creation of free, high-quality public childcare services, such as crèches and preschool services, and to strengthen the network of specialised services providing care to the elderly, particularly in their own homes, in order to promote a healthy work-life balance for the benefit of working women and as a way of removing constraints that, by discriminating against women, objectively contribute to women’s withdrawal from the labour market;

14.  Highlights the importance of adequate minimum income schemes for maintaining human dignity and to combat poverty and social exclusion, as well as their role as a form of social investment enabling people to participate in society and to undertake training and/or look for work; invites the Commission and Member States to assess minimum income schemes in the EU, including whether the schemes enable households to meet their needs; invites the Commission and Member States to evaluate on this basis the manner and the means of providing an adequate minimum income in all Member States and to consider further steps in support of social convergence across the EU, taking into account the economic and social circumstances of each Member State as well as national practices and traditions;

15.  Notes that the European social partners have not come forward with an agreement on a comprehensive package of legislative and non-legislative measures regarding the reconciliation of professional, private and family life; calls on the Commission to put forward as soon as possible a proposal for such a package as part of the Commission Work Programme 2017, in the context of the announced European pillar of social rights;

16.  Calls on Member States to draft legislation introducing preventive policies such as gender equality plans to combat gender discrimination at the workplace and create a suitable working environment for women and for men;

17.  Calls on Member States to take steps to regularise undeclared work and the abuse of temporary contracts to which women in particular are subject, with the aim of improving the position of and protection for the most vulnerable groups, in particular women domestic workers and fictitiously self-employed women workers; urges Member States to implement measures such as the provision of services offering advice and acting to prevent occupational discrimination, and the setting-up of employment monitoring and regulation authorities to ensure compliance with rules on hiring, payments, training, working practices and the termination of contracts;

18.  Recommends that Member States ensure that all young people have access to high-quality free public education at all ages, particularly at the higher levels of education and training, since it has been shown that raising the level of training helps to reduce labour inequalities between men and women;

19.  Calls on the Member States to provide adequate income replacement and social protection during any type of family- or care-related leave, in particular so as to ensure that low-income workers can benefit from leave measures on an equal footing with others;

20.  Underlines that migrants and refugees should have the same rights and should have access to the same benefits and services as other workers, through a universal model that is not related to insurance contributions and employment history;

21.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a compendium of practices that have proved successful in the Member States, with a view to disseminating and promoting them in order to prevent gender discrimination at work and protect women’s rights in particular;

22.  Calls on Member States and social partners to promote decent working conditions and quality employment for care workers, including through decent pay, recognition of care workers’ status and the development of high-quality vocational training pathways for care workers;

23.  Asks the Commission to guarantee that part-time workers, workers facing job discontinuity and workers with career gaps or with periods where fewer hours were worked have an effective equalisation to full-time workers in their right to access a decent pension scheme without any form of discrimination;

24.  Stresses that women workers with mental health problems are at a very high risk as regards all elements of precarious work; stresses that those workers are over-represented in time-limited contracts, in-work poverty, part-time work, career disruptions and other precarious contract arrangements; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that European health and safety legislation is sufficiently strong and efficient to protect those vulnerable workers in a better way; stresses that all types of harassment at work strongly affect the quality of life and work, health and wellbeing.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

6.2.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

15

7

1

Members present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Viorica Dăncilă, Iratxe García Pérez, Arne Gericke, Anna Hedh, Mary Honeyball, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Florent Marcellesi, Maria Noichl, Pina Picierno, João Pimenta Lopes, Terry Reintke, Michaela Šojdrová, Ángela Vallina, Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Anna Záborská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Evelyn Regner, Mylène Troszczynski

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Francisco Assis, Claudia Schmidt

(1)

Data from Eurofound report ‘The gender employment gap: challenges and solutions’ (2016)

(2)

Data from Eurofound report ‘6th European working conditions survey’


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

30.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

1

5

Members present for the final vote

Laura Agea, Guillaume Balas, Brando Benifei, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Enrique Calvet Chambon, Ole Christensen, Lampros Fountoulis, Elena Gentile, Arne Gericke, Czesław Hoc, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Agnes Jongerius, Jan Keller, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Jean Lambert, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Jeroen Lenaers, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Javi López, Thomas Mann, Dominique Martin, Anthea McIntyre, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, João Pimenta Lopes, Marek Plura, Terry Reintke, Claude Rolin, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Romana Tomc, Yana Toom, Ulrike Trebesius, Marita Ulvskog, Tatjana Ždanoka, Jana Žitňanská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Paloma López Bermejo, Joachim Schuster, Csaba Sógor, Neoklis Sylikiotis

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Sophia in ‘t Veld


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

38

+

ALDE

EFDD

GUE/NGL

NI

PPE

S&D

VERTS/ALE

Enrique Calvet Chambon, Yana Toom, Sophia in 't Veld

Laura Agea

Paloma López Bermejo, João Pimenta Lopes, Neoklis Sylikiotis

Lampros Fountoulis

Georges Bach, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Jeroen Lenaers, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Thomas Mann, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Marek Plura, Claude Rolin, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Csaba Sógor, Romana Tomc

Guillaume Balas, Brando Benifei, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Ole Christensen, Elena Gentile, Agnes Jongerius, Jan Keller, Javi López, Joachim Schuster, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Marita Ulvskog

Jean Lambert, Terry Reintke, Tatjana Ždanoka

1

-

ENF

Dominique Martin

5

0

ECR

Arne Gericke, Czesław Hoc, Anthea McIntyre, Ulrike Trebesius, Jana Žitňanská

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 21 June 2017Legal notice