Making the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality for citizens is a joint responsibility. While most of the tools to deliver on the Pillar are in the hands of Member States, as well as social partners and civil society, the European Union institutions – and the European Commission in particular – can help by setting the framework and giving the direction.
In addition to proposing the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Commission has put forward a number of legislative and non-legislative initiatives related to work-life balance, the information of workers, access to social protection and working time.
This initiative sets a number of new or higher minimum standards for parental, paternity and carer's leave. The proposed measures are intended in particular to increase possibilities for men to take up parental and caring responsibilities, which will benefit children and help increase women's participation in the labour market thereby reducing the difference between men and women in employment.
Today's more flexible working arrangements provide new job opportunities especially for the young but can potentially give rise to new precariousness and inequalities. The Commission wants to explore ways of providing as many people as possible with social security cover, including self-employed and gig-economy workers. In practice, these people should also be able to build up rights against contributions.
This directive gives employees starting a new job the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their employment relationship. The Commission is launching a consultation of social partners on a proposed revision to reflect labour market changes. It appears that many workers in the EU do not receive a written confirmation of their working conditions or do not receive all the information they need in a timely manner.
Based on a growing body of case law, the Commission is providing guidance on how to interpret various aspects of this directive. Recent case law (for example on the carry-over of untaken paid annual leave) makes it appropriate to bring clarity on content and application.