The EU Commission proposal for changes to European data protection has been on the table for some weeks. According to reports in the media, experts are now critical of the draft proposal, particularly as seen from the perspective of employees. They complain that insufficient attention is paid to the potential threat to data concerning employment conditions and that the proposed regulation contains too many grey areas. They see a lack of attention to reasonable protection of employee data. Workers’ representatives believe that the planned changes will bring about a significant deterioration in the situation. According to the draft, guidelines issued unilaterally by employers should simplify the communication of information within companies in the future.
Austrian and European data protection laws contain few provisions that consider the particular protection needs of employees. For this reason, experts are calling for adequate data protection provisions for employees, as well as more efficient law enforcement to protect employment data, particularly at company level. This gives rise to the following questions:
How does the Commission intend to make it clear that European data protection rules do not reduce the validity of national labour relations?
What specific steps are planned to ensure that workers’ organisations and trade unions are entitled to take legal action in these matters?
How does the Commission intend to ensure that privacy protection and the information rights of those concerned are upheld through mandatory reporting to the Data Processing Register?
How will a national data protection authority operate under the new changes, so that efficient law enforcement is guaranteed?