Transparent and predictable working conditions

22-02-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, submitted on 21 December 2017 and referred to the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. The proposal updates and replaces Directive 91/533/EEC (the Written Statement Directive, hereafter WSD), which gives employees the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their contract or employment relationship. Taking into account that the labour market has evolved and new forms of work have developed in recent years, the REFIT evaluation of the WSD found that there is a need to modernise and complement the existing obligations to inform workers of their working conditions, and to create minimum standards to ensure that each worker benefits from more clarity regarding his/her working terms, irrespective of the type of employment relationship they have. According to the IA, the initiative would set a framework within which new forms of work could develop, offering fairer protection for workers, a clearer legal framework and a more level playing field for companies in the internal market (IA, pp. 6-7). The proposal, which is part of the 2018 Commission work programme, is a follow-up to the European Pillar of Social Rights. In line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Commission conducted a two-stage consultation with the social partners on the revision of the WSD. There was no agreement among the social partners to enter into direct negotiations on concluding an EU-level agreement. The European Parliament has stressed the need to address the developments of the labour market and protect workers in all forms of employment. It has called for a framework directive on decent working conditions and for a revision of the WSD to take account of new forms of employment.

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, submitted on 21 December 2017 and referred to the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. The proposal updates and replaces Directive 91/533/EEC (the Written Statement Directive, hereafter WSD), which gives employees the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their contract or employment relationship. Taking into account that the labour market has evolved and new forms of work have developed in recent years, the REFIT evaluation of the WSD found that there is a need to modernise and complement the existing obligations to inform workers of their working conditions, and to create minimum standards to ensure that each worker benefits from more clarity regarding his/her working terms, irrespective of the type of employment relationship they have. According to the IA, the initiative would set a framework within which new forms of work could develop, offering fairer protection for workers, a clearer legal framework and a more level playing field for companies in the internal market (IA, pp. 6-7). The proposal, which is part of the 2018 Commission work programme, is a follow-up to the European Pillar of Social Rights. In line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Commission conducted a two-stage consultation with the social partners on the revision of the WSD. There was no agreement among the social partners to enter into direct negotiations on concluding an EU-level agreement. The European Parliament has stressed the need to address the developments of the labour market and protect workers in all forms of employment. It has called for a framework directive on decent working conditions and for a revision of the WSD to take account of new forms of employment.