At today's Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers Council, EU Member States have reached an agreement on three legislative files which are a cornerstone of building a stronger social Europe: the revision of the rules governing social security coordination, a new work-life balance directive and a directive on transparent and predictable working conditions.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "The Council reached an agreement today on three Commission proposals to protect European citizens in a world of changing social and economic realities, in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights. These texts will make a real difference in citizens' lives. Not only did the Council officially confirm the agreement on the rules of posting of workers, ensuring equal pay for equal work at the same place, it also found agreement on the revision of the social security coordination rules. This will create more fairness and clarity for mobile workers and Member States' authorities. Still, on the directive on transparent and predictable working conditions, I had advocated for a more ambitious approach. With our proposal we wanted to ensure that in a fast-changing world of work, all workers are covered by basic rights. Today's agreement can only be a first step and I will work for a balanced compromise in the upcoming negotiations with the European Parliament. The same is true for Work-Life Balance, where I hope ultimately that we can establish a real game changer for many couples and families who face the daily challenge of combining work and family life."
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, added: "The proposal for a work-life balance directive takes a balanced and reasonable approach to promote real choices for parents and carers on how they want to combine their work and family life. I hope that the European Parliament and the Council will now take this important file forward and come to a compromise that will bring concrete improvements for Europeans, including addressing women's underrepresentation on the labour market."
The European Union provides rules on the coordination of social security systems to determine which system a mobile citizen is subject to. The rules prevent a person from being left without social protection, or having double coverage in a cross-border situation. On 13 December 2016, the Commission proposed to update the legislation to facilitate free movement of workers and protect their rights, while reinforcing the tools for national authorities to fight risks of abuse or fraud. The proposal makes a closer link between the place where contributions are paid and where benefits are claimed, ensuring a fair financial distribution of burden between Member States. It updates EU rules in five areas: unemployment benefits, long-term care benefits, access of economically inactive citizens to social benefits and social security coordination for posted workers, as well as family benefits. The Commission's proposal for a European Labour Authority will complement and facilitate the implementation of the rules on social security coordination to ensure fair labour mobility.
The Commission put forward a proposal for a new directive on work-life balance for parents and carers on 26 April 2017. As one of the key deliverables of the European Pillar of Social Rights, this initiative sets a number of new or higher minimum standards for parental, paternity and carer's leave. It follows the withdrawal in 2015 of the Commission proposal for a revision of Directive 92/85/EEC on maternity leave and takes a broader perspective to improve the lives of working parents and carers.
The proposal for a new directive for more transparent and predictable working conditions across the EU, adopted on 21 December 2017, is also part of the follow-up to the European Pillar of Social Rights. The proposal complements and modernises existing obligations to inform all workers of their working conditions. In addition, the proposal creates new minimum standards to ensure that all workers, including those on atypical contracts, benefit from more predictability and clarity as regards their working conditions. The proposal updates and replaces the 1991 Written Statement Directive (91/533/EEC), which no longer captures changing labour market realities, in particular the new forms of work that have developed in recent years.
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