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Working conditions directive

EESC opinion: Working conditions directive

The EESC supports transparent and predictable working conditions for all workers, including in atypical employment, as a concrete step towards implementing the European Social Pillar. The definition of worker and employer should be clarified in the Commission's proposal and on-demand workers be guaranteed a minimum number of hours or pay. The EESC finds the provisions relating to minimum requirements relating to working conditions acceptable, but recommends clarification of certain aspects, recommending a strong role for social dialogue and that responsibility be left up to the national level.


Key points

  • The EESC supports the Commission's effort to make working conditions for all workers, particularly those in atypical employment, more transparent and predictable as a concrete step towards implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights.
  • Social partners have a specific role in regulating transparent and predictable working conditions through social dialogue and collective bargaining, respecting the diversity among the Member States and national practices. Some of the Member States have addressed the challenges of atypical employment through collective agreements, social dialogue or legislation.
  • The EESC recognises the particular situation of natural persons acting as employers, and micro and small enterprises and recommends that appropriate assistance be provided to such entities.
  • Member States must be able to determine, under the social dialogue, who falls within the scope of "worker", but this must be interpreted in the light of the purpose of the directive. Further clarification is recommended so that platform workers also benefit from the protection of the directive. However, people using platforms who are genuinely self-employed and independent should be excluded. The personal scope of the directive with regard to the definition of an employer should also be clarified.
  • The EESC believes that on-demand work cannot be maintained as a form of employment without an appropriate reference period and advance notice. Employment contracts that provide for on-demand work should guarantee a certain number of hours or corresponding payment.
  • The EESC supports the provisions relating to minimum requirements relating to working conditions, notably regarding the length of the probationary period, restrictions on the prohibition of employment in parallel, minimum predictability of work, transitioning to another form of employment where available, and the provision of cost-free training where this is required for the worker to carry out the work. However, the EESC recommends clarification of certain aspects, recommending that responsibility be left up to the national level according to national legal and social dialogue practices.
  • The EESC believes that for the effective application of the directive, it is right for workers to be protected from dismissal. Sanctions, where they are justified, should correspond with the level of damage suffered by the worker. The EESC welcomes the provision under Article 14(1) giving employers 15 days to complete the missing information.
  • The proposal sets out minimum standards for convergence and it is important that workers who currently enjoy better material rights should not fear deterioration in their existing rights when the directive is implemented.