Employment guidelines

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EESC opinion: Employment guidelines

This opinion is on the revision of the Guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, which provide common priorities and targets for employment policies of the Member States.

The European Commission has proposed to amend the 2015 Guidelines, to align the text with the principles of the European pillar of social rights.

They are adopted in the context of the European Employment Strategy, and form, together with the Guidelines for the Economic Policies of the Member States and of the EU, the Integrated Guidelines.


Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the draft employment guidelines and their alignment with the European Pillar of Social Rights. However, the Committee believes more could be done in the guidelines to truly fulfil the promise of the Pillar. A greater balancing of the macroeconomic rules and a Social Europe should be done, and there is a need for a proper social investment package as part of a European growth and investment programme worth 2% of GDP.
  • The EESC supports an enhanced focus on impact and delivery in the Pillar and the employment guidelines assisted by the social scoreboard and other measures where necessary. Impact relating to these questions should be part of the discussions and planning process between Member States and the EU in the allocation of EU funding.
  • Regarding the specific guidelines, the Committee has the following main views:
    • The Guideline 5: provisions should make clear it is not always the case that innovative forms of work leadto greater casualisation of work even though this cansometimes be assumed. Measures which support smooth transitions in labour markets, including appropriate provisions for the security of workers would help to ensure that new forms of work provide fair employment opportunities.The movement of taxation away from labour to other sources is welcome but the Guidelines should provide clarity on other possible sources. The EESC has produced opinions on aggressive tax planning, fraud and evasion, environmental taxes which might also provide alternative revenues for suggestion in the Guidelines.
    • On Guideline 6: the EESC believes the specific mention of ESF should be retained.
    • On Guideline 7: The need for impartial dispute recognition should apply to all areas and not just unfair dismissals. Alternative dispute remedies should not take away from the parties' rights to access the courts.
    • On Guideline 8: Action on youth unemployment needs to be maintained, particularly guaranteed funding for the Youth Guarantee and the further development of a "Skills Guarantee". Long-term unemployment must continue to be a focus and can be a source of labour in a tightening market.
    • The position of people with disabilities must be seen from a rights-based perspective but also with practical mainstream measures in the employment field with a particular emphasis on combatting discrimination as set out in the Treaties.
    • Provisions on gender equality need to feature in each guideline and there needs to be a strong focus on issues of low pay in addressing the gender pay gap.
    • Migrants and refugees should be specifically mentioned in the guidelines.
    • The EESC reiterates its view on the increase on the age of statutory retirement that the actual age should first be similar to the legal age. It also emphasises the need to ensure the sustainability of pension systems in the Member States by addressing challenges such as increasing life expectancy, changes in labour markets affecting the financing of pensions and ensuring adequate pension levels.