Study on precarious work and social rights

Project report


McKay, S., Jefferys, S., Paraksevopoulou, A. and Keles, J. 2012. Study on precarious work and social rights. European Commission.
TypeProject report
TitleStudy on precarious work and social rights
AuthorsMcKay, S., Jefferys, S., Paraksevopoulou, A. and Keles, J.
Abstract

This Precarious Work and Social Rights (PWSR) study was conducted in a period of growing uncertainty. The current economic crisis has increased unemployment while cuts in welfare provision and entitlements have been widespread. Arguably much employment in Europe is more precarious in 2012 than it was in 2007. The speed of the changes imposed as a consequence of crisis have presented the study with a particular challenge in analysing the overall picture, while keeping in mind the rapid advancement of new solutions to existing and emerging problems. Full-time, permanent work remains the dominant form of employment relationship within the 12 Member States of the study - Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK - and still largely structures entitlements to welfare. However, there has been significant growth in a wide range of non-standard forms of employment relationship with the result that significant numbers of Europe’s workers are now excluded from welfare benefits and/or employment protections. This has both major and long-term consequences for European labour law, as legislative models have been framed around the concept of the standard contract and has resulted in the exclusion of increasing numbers of Europe’s workers because their employment relationship does not fit the standard. As Weiss (2011) comments, there is a need to adapt labour law to the new circumstances of atypical work by making closer links between labour law and social security law. Thus while the focus of this study has been on precarious work, the association between precarious work and the absence of social rights is irrefutable. Individuals in precarious work are more likely to be excluded from social rights, such as to decent housing, medical care, pensions and education, while exclusion from these social rights pushes individuals into precarious work. Work precariousness thus feeds into other situations that cement individuals into precarious lives. Precarious work also incurs the risk of individuals lacking adequate social protection in old age.
This study considers the variety of employment relationships existing in the 12 Member States and the common and nationally distinct perceptions of precarious work. It details measures that have been introduced to address precarious work with a view to its reduction or elimination. The methods used have involved an extensive, international literature review, 153 face-to-face interviews with a range of employment relations actors, a questionnaire survey of 265 employment experts, 36 case studies, and more than 30 small cameo portraits detailing the experiences of workers in precarious work.

Sustainable Development Goals8 Decent work and economic growth
LanguageEnglish
JournalEmployment, Social Affairs & Inclusion
PublisherEuropean Commission
Publication dates
Online01 Apr 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited25 May 2022
Accepted01 May 2012
Output statusPublished
Web address (URL)https://ec.europa.eu/social/search.jsp?advSearchKey=+%22Study+on+precarious+work+and+social+rights%22&mode=advancedSubmit&langId=en
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