Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Access to social protection

As part of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed. Following the proposal, the EPSCO Council agreed on a recommendation in its 6-7 December 2018 session.

The Council Recommendation was formally adopted on 8 November 2019.

The Commission supports Member States and stakeholders in achieving the objectives of the recommendation

The objective is to support people in non-standard forms of employment and self-employment who, due to their employment status, are not sufficiently covered by social security schemes and thus are exposed to higher economic uncertainty.

The Council recommendation

The Council Recommendation aims to encourage EU countries to:

  • allow non-standard workers and the self-employed to adhere to social security schemes (closing formal coverage gaps).
  • take measures allowing them to build up and take up adequate social benefits as members of a scheme (effective and adequate coverage) and facilitating the transfer of social security benefits between schemes.
  • increase transparency regarding social security systems and rights.

The proposal covers social security schemes for unemployment, sickness and healthcare, maternity or paternity, accidents at work and occupational diseases, disability and old age.

National plans

Member States were recommended to implement the principles of the Recommendation and to submit a plan setting out the corresponding measures to be taken at national level by 15 May 2021.

The national plans submitted by Member States during 2021 can be found below. By clicking on each country, you can access the respective national plan, in English and for some countries in the national language(s):


The contents of these publications are licensed under conditions to the EU. The respective copyright owners may reserve their exclusive rights to the publications. For any use or reproduction of the publications or their elements permission may need to be sought directly from the respective right holders.

Monitoring framework

The Council Recommendation provides that by November 2020, the Commission should, jointly with the Social Protection Committee, establish a monitoring framework to assess the implementation of the Recommendation.

A version 0 of the monitoring framework has been developed and endorsed by the Social Protection Committee in October 2020.

It contains a theoretical framework and three types of indicators (performance indicators, context indicators, policy levers) and constitutes the baseline against which further progress can be evaluated on an annual basis.

In 2021, the Commission prepared, jointly with the Social Protection Committee, an update of performance indicators on coverage and adequacy and on the rules governing contributions and entitlements.

Stakeholder consultations

In line with Treaty provisions, the Commission launched consultations with social partners to request their views on the direction of European Union action to address obstacles faced by workers in non-standard forms of employment and by the self-employed in accessing social protection.

In parallel, the Commission also launched an open public consultation to gather the views of other relevant stakeholders such as national, regional and local authorities, organisations for the self-employed, and civil society.

Preparatory work

The Commission performed an Impact Assessment to support the proposal of the Recommendation which included a literature review and expert advice from the following commissioned studies:

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