The initiatives, published on March 13 by the European Commission, represent the implementation of some of the principles enumerated in the European Pillar of Social Rights, namely the proposal of setting a European Labour Authority, as well as a recommendation on the access to social protection to all forms of workers.
The establishment of a European Labour Authority was announced by President Juncker during his State of the Union speech last September. The Authority, which will be streamlining and rationalizing all current initiatives and bodies dealing with labour mobility, will be mainly active in three areas: providing support to national authorities to increase cross-border cooperation, serving as a one-stop-shop for individuals and companies on mobility rights and possibilities within the EU and offering mediation in case disputes arise whenever issues with cross-border implications arise. The Authority is not meant to create new rights or duties for individuals and companies, but rather to increase awareness and effective recourse to mobility opportunities and rights already existing, therefore truly enforcing the freedom of movement.
The recommendation on access to social protection aims at better taking into account the changing reality of the labour market, making sure that fair, equal and effective social coverage is made available also for those who are not in a traditional, open-ended employment contract and cannot enjoy the social protection level that is typically associated to it. The recommendation calls on Member States to adopt the necessary measures to open and encourage to adhesion to social protection schemes (unemployment, sickness, maternity and paternity, etc..) to all workers, including self-employed ones.
Both initiatives were preceded by a long consultation process, to which CEC European Managers has participated. Concerning the setting of the European Labour Authority, CEC welcomed the proposal as a way to give more substance to the proposal of building a “social Europe”, with particular attention to the functions of providing information to individuals and support to national authorities. As far as social protection is concerned, CEC stressed in its response to the consultation the importance to ensure fair conditions to all (also in terms of effective coverage as well as respect and transferability of vested rights), in the context of a general reflection on the need to consider new ways of funding social spending that take into account the changing reality of the world of work and combine financial sustainability with generational fairness.
Please find the European Commission press release with further information here.