Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 11/11/2019

Council Recommendation on access to social protection – making social protection systems fit for the future

On 8 November, the Council adopted the Recommendation on Access to social protection for workers and the self-employed, a key initiative part of the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, welcomed the adoption with the following statement: "This is another important step towards a fairer and more social Europe. In the new world of work we see more and more different types of work and more frequent job changes. We need to ensure that no one is left behind and everybody has the right to adequate benefits if they fall ill, have an accident or enter parenthood, become unemployed or retire. With this Recommendation, Member States commit to extend the coverage of social protection systems to ensure this. This is key to maintain trust in social protection systems, but also to ensure a level playing field on the labour market and avoid a race to the bottom. The EU must continue to strive for high social standards. I count on Member States to deliver on this commitment and make social protection fit for the future.” 

Social security systems were primarily developed for and remain geared towards workers in ‘standard employment relations', implying a long-term, full-time work relationship, leaving other groups less covered. This potentially concerns a large share of people in the EU's labour market.

Nowadays, 4 out of 10 people work on non-standard contracts or are self-employed. Over the next year, the Commission will support 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 first mutual learning event took place on 29-30 October 2019 on extending formal coverage

The Commission will closely analyse the plan to be submitted by each Member State within 18 months to inform on the corresponding measures to be taken at the national level.

A complete overview of all initiatives in the social field by the Juncker Commission is available online.

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