The proposal for a Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions is a direct follow-up to the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
It aims to set new rights for all workers, particularly addressing insufficient protection for workers in more precarious jobs, while limiting burdens on employers and maintaining labour market adaptability.
The Commission is proposing that all workers in the EU should have the right to:
- more complete information on the essential aspects of the work, to be received by the worker, in writing, at the latest on the first day on the job (rather than up to two months afterwards),
- a limit to the length of probationary periods at the beginning of the job,
- seek additional employment, with a ban on exclusivity clauses and limits on incompatibility clauses,
- know a reasonable period in advance when work will take place, for workers with very variable working schedules determined by the employer, as in the case if on-demand work,
- receive a written reply to a request to transfer to another more secure job,
- receive cost-free the mandatory training that the employer has a duty to provide.
The proposal has a broad personal scope of application. It aims to ensure that these rights cover all workers in all forms of work, including those in the most flexible non-standard and new forms of work such as zero-hour contracts, casual work, domestic work, voucher-based work or platform work.
It also comes with targeted provisions on enforcement, to make sure that workers in the workplace effectively benefit from these rights.
The revision of the Written Statement Directive
The Proposal for a Predictable Work Directive stems from the revision of the current Written Statement directive, which has existed since 1991 and gives employees starting a new job the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their employment relationship.
The Commission's REFIT evaluation of the Directive showed 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.
Moreover, since 1991 the labour market has changed and new needs have emerged, as shown on the outcome of the consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The new Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions would repeal the current Written Statement Directive.
Two-stage consultation of the social partners
As required by the EU Treaties, the Commission consulted trade unions and employers’ organisations in a two-stage approach:
to seek their views on the challenges identified by the Commission and whether they wished to launch negotiations for an autonomous agreement to tackle them.
However, the views of the social partners on the need for legislation were mixed. Since they did not enter into negotiations to conclude an agreement at EU level, the initiative passed to the Commission to make a legislative proposal.
A political agreement between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission was reached in February 2019, following negotiations. The Parliament and the Council have now to adopt their formal position under the co-decision procedure for the text to become EU law.