CESI contributions to first phase social partner consultations on access to social protection and a possible revision of the Written statement directive

On June 23, CESI delivered its responses to the European Commission’s first phase social partner consultations on a possible revision of the Written statement directive and on new measures for a better access to social protection for all. The European Commission had launched these two consultations simultaneously as a consequence of the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights earlier this year in April.

The Written statement directive consultation had two main objectives: Firstly to analyse how to improve the protection of employees in all kinds of employment relationships against possible infringements of their rights under the directive, which may be extended in a revision of the directive, and secondly to establish how to reach a greater transparency on the labour market by ensuring an easy identification of the working conditions applicable to any specific categories of employees.

The Written statement directive

Changes to the directive proposed and mentioned by the Commission in the consultation document included:
• first, the broadening of the scope of the directive’s application, a clarification of its application on new and atypical forms of employment, and the removal or simplification of the exclusion provision under which Member States may exclude people from the scope of the directive;
• secondly, the extension of the information package, which would go hand in hand with the broadening of the application of the directive;
• thirdly, the inclusion of the notion of redresses and sanctions in cases of breaches of the proper application of rules; and
• finally, the reduction of the directive’s two-month notification deadline.

In its response, CESI agreed with the proposals of the Commission as a way to ensure a strong legal certainty and better rights and employment conditions for all people in de-facto dependent work relationships. The Written statement directive was also argued by CESI to be a tool to help bring down bogus self-employment. As precondition to achieve this, CESI mentioned and reiterated the need for a common definition of ‘worker’ which should also span to corresponding existing EU legislation or be addressed in a new, legally binding new framework on decent work for all.

Access to social protection for all

The European Commission wished to consult the social partners to request their views on the possible direction of the European Union action to address the challenges of access to social protection and related employment services for workers in non-standard forms of employment. The main challenges pointed out by the Commission were gaps in access to social protection due to the trend that more and more people are on non-standard contracts or enter new forms of (forced) self-employment; a lack of transferability of social protection rights when people leave the employment where they were acquired; and a lack of transparency of such rights, given the insufficient opportunities to access user-friendly information and regulatory complexity.

The Commission proposed to tackle those issues by ensuring similar social protection rights for similar work; tying social protection rights to individuals and making them transferable; and making social protection rights and related information transparent and by simplifying administrative requirements.

Endorsing those propositions, CESI insisted in its consultation contribution on the need to make clear that it can be dangerous to take social protection in standard form of employment as benchmark, as in many Member States there have been attempts to downgrade social protection in regular employment as well. Furthermore, CESI stressed that the need for a common-sense shared definition of the term ‘worker’, especially in the context of new form of employment is more than urgent. CESI argued that this common term is a precondition to regulate new forms of employment, making them subject to adequate minimum labour and social standards and social security entitlements.

Both consultation contributions can be accessed through the resources section.