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 on 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

  • through dialogue and mutual learning activities, but also
  • by improving statistics and proposing a monitoring framework.

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.


Through a proposal for a Council Recommendation, the Commission 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 (adequate effective 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.

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.

Analytical work

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

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