EU proposals for self-employed and non-standard workers.
The European Commission is recommending European Union member states give self-employed and workers in ‘atypical’ employment more access to social security (1). The ideas are linked to the creation of European Labour Authority.
Remarkably, the commission says nearly 40% of employed people are either atypical – don’t have a full-time, open-ended contact – or self-employed.
To support its proposals, it says these workers “are not always well covered in terms of social security, lacking unemployment insurance or access to pension rights”.
The recommendations reflect the same widely-felt need that produced ‘Good Work, The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices’ at the request of Theresa May (2). This influenced ‘Better Self-Employment’, our own ongoing work at Citizens Advice Reigate & Banstead (3).
In brief, member states are being asked to agree to:
Following the Brexit vote proposals for this kind of EU-wide reform are likely to be controversial.
But no one denies lifestyles and ways of working have changed in recent years. The growth of less secure contracts, higher self-employment and the ‘gig economy’ are changing employment here as in other developed economies.
And the prime minister herself strongly supports the role of effective employment regulation. In her Mansion House speech she said:
“And in other areas like workers’ rights or the environment, the EU should be confident that we will not engage in a race to the bottom in the standards and protections we set. There is no serious political constituency in the UK which would support this – quite the opposite.” (4)