What’s Next For EU Employment Law?

Age discrimination law is now in force, completing the implementation of the EU Equality Directive, one of the major pieces of EU legislation in the last five years. Information and consultation laws now exist across Europe. TUPE, also based in EU law, has been updated. So what does Brussels have in store for us next?

The answer lies in a recently issued Green Paper in which the EU Commission sets out a framework for Modernising labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This has formed the basis of a public consultation in the first part of 2007.

The emphasis of the document is on the commercial drive for the labour market in Europe to be flexible, resulting in increasingly diverse forms of employment. The Commission refers to the possibility of a two-tier labour market, divided between the permanently employed 'insiders', and the flexibly employed 'outsiders' whose security and rights may be more precarious.

The purpose of the paper, and the Directives which may emanate from it, is to look at how labour law can advance 'flexicurity', supporting flexibility and offering workers security as well. The paper also invites debate on how labour law and different contractual structures could facilitate job creation, labour market flexibility and the transitioning of workers from one type of relationship to another. It also places better regulation on the agenda, which might help reduce administrative burdens.

Amongst the specific issues raised are the following.

Should be clearer rules on whether a person is employed or...

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