Changes in labour markets have led to a rise in non-standard employment in recent years. Paid internships and temporary agency work continue to pose a challenge in terms of job security and appropriate working conditions. In addition, new non-standard forms of employment – such as casual work, non-voluntary limited part-time work and voucher-based work – are a cause for concern.
The CoR's rapporteur on the Transparency Directive, Isolde Ries, First Vice-President of the Saarland Regional Parliament (PES/Germany), is of the view that "we urgently need to strengthen workers' rights in Europe: a minimum level of fair working conditions, and a clear reference framework to which national legislators and the courts could refer, are needed for all forms of employment contract."
Ries therefore views the Commission's proposal for a new directive on transparent and predictable working conditions as a step in the right direction. "It will serve to implement important principles enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights announced in Gothenburg in November 2017 – and to bring European employment legislation into line with the EU labour markets of the 21st century," she said.
Ries firmly believes that new minimum rights for employees' working conditions, and the associated obligation to inform workers about their working conditions at the latest on the first day of the employment relationship, are essential. These minimum rights not only offer both employers and workers more security; they also prevent a damaging race to the bottom among Member States.
"I also think it is important that the probationary period will be limited to six months; that workers will be able to work for more than one employer; that a worker doing on-demand work must be informed in advance when they are required to work; that workers may request a substantiated written reply from their employer about more stable forms of employment; and that mandatory training must in future be paid in full by the employer," continued Ries.
Ries sees room for improvement by means of additional regulatory proposals: "The new substantive rights should be expanded to include a ban on zero-hours contracts, the right to guaranteed working hours, and more rights in connection with dismissal."