What is flexicurity?
Flexicurity is an integrated strategy for enhancing, at the same time, flexibility and security in the labour market. It attempts to reconcile employers' need for a flexible workforce with workers' need for security – confidence that they will not face long periods of unemployment.
What is the EU doing?
Working with national governments, social partners and academics the EU has identified a set of common flexicurity principles and is exploring how countries can implement them through four components:
- flexible and reliable contractual arrangements
- comprehensive lifelong learning strategies
- effective active labour market policies
- modern social security systems
Council conclusions on the common principles of flexicurity (November 2007)
The European Employment Strategy and the European Semester
The four components of flexicurity are key elements of the European Employment Strategy and cover large part of its employment guidelines. Integrated flexicurity policies play a key role in modernising labour markets and contributing to the achievement of the 75% employment rate target set by the Europe 2020 Strategy. Effective flexicurity strategies are also at the basis of policy advice given to EU countries within the European Semester exercise.
The flexicurity principles are also highlighted in:
- The Five Presidents' Report: Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (June 2015), confirming that the standards for labour markets should combine security and flexibility and could be developed along the various pillars of the flexicurity concept,
- Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area (2015-2017), specifying that reforms should combine:
- reliable labour contracts which provide flexibility and security for employees and employers,
- quality and efficient education and training systems and comprehensive lifelong learning strategies,
- effective active labour market policies and
- modern, sustainable and adequate social protection systems.
Complementary measures taken in recent years were:
- European Pillar for Social Rights – for ensuring a better balance between economic and social objectives and bring about more effective and fair labour markets and social protection systems
- A new Skills Agenda for Europe – for improving the quality and relevance of training and other ways of acquiring skills, make skills more visible and comparable, and improve information and understanding of trends and patterns in demands for skills and jobs (skills intelligence)
Monitoring flexicurity at national level
The Employment Committee (EMCO) agreed in 2012 on a set of monitoring indicators to help assess progress made in the implementation of the flexicurity principles. These indicators are used in the annual Joint Employment Report on employment developments in the EU.
Moreover, work is being done to improve the evidence base for flexicurity and gain knowledge of what works, where and how. This work is a key element to accelerate and improve the implementation of flexicurity across EU countries.