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Employment Policy in the EU

Latest news on employment policy in the European Union.

Europass - guide
Europass is a new way of helping people to make their skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe (European Union, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries); and to move anywhere in Europe. Europass consists of five documents: two documents (Europass curriculum vitae (CV) and Europass Language Passport) you can fill in yourself; and three other documents (Europass Certificate Supplement, Europass Diploma Supplement and Europass Mobility) filled in and issued by competent organisations.

Working Time and Working conditions for Temporary Agency Workers - EU guide
EU Member States reached political agreement in the early hours of 10 June 2008 on the long-standing issues of the European Union Working Time Directive and the Temporary Agency Work Directive at the Employment and Social Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

The life of women and men in Europe - A statistical portrait
This is a very interesting publication on gender statistics. It describes the situations of women and men at different stages of their lives. It begins by covering children, their education and initial training. Possible differences between women and men in the age at which they leave the family home and in their lifestyles are also shown. It then examines women and men in their professional life, focusing on their differing career paths, the respective positions they occupy and their abilities and strategies for reconciling the pursuit of a working career with family responsibilities. The final analytical part is a review of women and men beyond retirement age, including the income they receive from pensions and other sources. Whether or not they are still working, their household circumstances, their health and social relations are further matters dealt with in the publication.

Sport: free movement of workers in the EU
The application of the Community rules on free movement of workers to sport is not dealt with in any specific Community legal provisions. However, there exists important case-law of the European Court of Justice in this field.

UEFA rule on 'home-grown players': compatibility with EU rules
The European Commission has published an independent study on the ‘home-grown players’ rule adopted by UEFA. This rule requires clubs participating in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup to have a minimum number of ‘home-grown players’ in their squads. Compared with the '6+5' plan proposed by FIFA, which is incompatible with EU law, the Commission considers that UEFA has opted for an approach which seems to comply with the principle of free movement of workers while promoting the training of young European players. The Commission also notes that the measures are designed to support the promotion and protection of quality training for young footballers in the EU. This study had been announced in the White Paper on Sport in July 2007.

Tempus Programme - guide
This set of frequently-asked questions explains the main achievements and objectives of Tempus - the EU flagship programme in the field of higher education cooperation with neighbouring countries.

European Qualifications Framework - guide
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is a common European reference framework which links countries' qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable. The EQF has two principal aims: to promote citizens' mobility between European Union countries and to facilitate their lifelong learning.

European Qualifications Framework
The EQF is a common European reference framework which links countries' qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable. It has two principal aims: to promote citizens' mobility between countries and to facilitate their lifelong learning.

Gender mainstreaming of employment policies in practice
The European Commission just published an expert report analysing gender mainstreaming in practice in the field of employment policies. The report also presents concrete examples of gender mainstreaming implemented over the last few years in 30 European countries.

Women and men in decision-making
This website on women and men in decision-making gives an insight into the relative numbers of women and men participating in the decision-making process and taking up leadership positions in the European Institutions, the 27 Member States of the European Union, the EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and two of the EU candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey). The website contains data and indicators that cover decision-making in political, public and juridical and social and economic domains both on European and national level. For the political domain only, decision-making at regional level is also covered.

Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008
The European Commission on 25 February presented the annual Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion, prepared jointly with EU Member States. The annual report explores a selection of key issues that are high on the social agenda of the EU and the Member States. It presents some key messages at EU and national level. The 2008 report examines policies and developments in the area of social inclusion, pensions, healthcare and long-term care. It reviews the main trends across the EU and at national level. This year's report looks in depth at a number of themes, including child poverty, access to health care and evolving long-term care needs, longer working lives and privately managed pensions.

Joint Employment Report
Employment growth has been impressive during the last year according to the Joint Employment Report, to be adopted by Employment Ministers on 29 February 2008. Almost 6.5 million new jobs were created during the last two years and another 5 million jobs are forecast by 2009. Unemployment in the EU is expected to fall to under 7% in 2008, the lowest level since the mid-1980s. The Report – which assesses Member States’ implementation of their national reform programmes in the area of employment – is strongly upbeat. However, it also points to a number of ongoing areas for concern, notably youth unemployment and under-investment in education and training.

Employment Equality Directive - guide
The European Commission on 31 January 2008 sent reasoned opinions to 11 EU Member States to fully implement EU rules prohibiting discrimination in employment and occupation on the grounds of religion and belief, age, disability and sexual orientation. The countries concerned – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Italy, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden – have two months to respond, failing which the Commission can decide to take them to the European Court of Justice. Also, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Germany and two complementary letters of formal notice to Latvia and Lithuania. The Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) was agreed in 2000 with a deadline for implementation into national law of December 2003.

Supplementary pension schemes and mobility in Europe: studies
Supplementary pension schemes continue to pose obstacles to mobility for workers across Europe according to two new independent studies, presented by the European Commission on 22 January 2008. The Commission says the studies support the case for a Europe-wide initiative to improve people's access to supplementary pension rights when changing jobs or working in another EU country. The Commission's proposal for a directive on the issue – revised in October 2007 – forms part of the work programme for the Slovenian EU Presidency.

Portability of pensions
Changing job or country often means losing occupational pension benefits in some EU Member States. The difficulty of transferring these benefits from one country to another can be such that it has been identified by experts as a serious obstacle to the free movement of workers within the EU. Under the 'portability of pensions' Directive, proposed by the European Commission in October 2005, workers switching jobs or countries will no longer need to worry for the future. Designed to avoid major losses and in many cases allowing benefits to transfer with the worker across sectors and countries in the EU, the proposal is expected to boost the Commission's 'Growth and Jobs' strategy by making it easier for workers to move jobs and countries.

Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs: guide
The European Union's Lisbon Strategy to modernise Europe was first agreed in 2000 and relaunched in 2005, with a clearer focus on growth and jobs.

Industrial relations in the EU, Japan, US and other global economies
Spotlight on temporary agency work, SMEs and industrial relations in the EU, Japan and US - the report is published by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), the Dublin-based EU Agency. The report provides an overview of developments in the field of industrial relations in the EU and other global economies with a view to informing social dialogue and preparing decision makers for the challenges of globalisation.

European social dialogue: benefits for workers and companies
The Portuguese EU Presidency and the European Commission organised a major conference on 29 and 30 November 2007 in Lisbon to discuss the concrete outcomes of European social dialogue and the benefits they have brought to European workers and companies.

Development of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
European Qualifications Framework (EQF) - detailed presentation. The Commission formally published the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) as a Staff Working Document on 8 July 2005. This page describes the development of the EQF from its adoption as a Staff Working Document to its adoption as a formal proposal on 5 September 2006.

Restructuring Forum
The European Commission set up the 'Restructuring Forum' in 2005. Based on work already done by existing organisations, the Forum's mission is to keep in regular touch with ongoing changes and to ensure that the various initiatives are properly dovetailed; this requires the participation of the Commission, the other EU institutions, the social partners and outside specialists. The Restructuring Forum brings together high level representatives from European institutions, governments, cross industry and sectoral social partners, academic experts, promoters of good practices, business support providers such as chambers of commerce and industry, regional development agencies and the European Business and Innovation Centres.

Employment in Europe 2007
The robust recovery of EU labour markets in 2006 brought an increase in employment of 4 million – the strongest since 2000, according to the 2007 'Employment in Europe' report, published on 26 November 2007. But rather than being an occasion for premature celebration, the improved economic climate presents a unique opportunity to push more strongly for badly needed structural reforms. Member States need, in particular, to develop more integrated employment and training policies to improve employment security for EU workers in the changing global economy.

Undeclared work in the European Union - Eurobarometer 284
The Eurobarometer survey 'Undeclared work in the European Union' - the first ever Europe-wide harmonised survey on this sensitive topic – confirms the existence of a large market for undeclared work all over the EU. The Eurobarometer survey reveals that undeclared work is particularly widespread in southern and eastern Europe. Across the EU, 5% of employees admit receiving cash-in-hand wages, varying from 3% or less in most continental countries, the UK and Ireland, to over 10% in some central and eastern European countries. Undeclared work is more concentrated among students, the unemployed and the self-employed, and has a higher incidence in the construction and household services sectors. The detection risk also matters: people who consider the risk to be small are more likely to be involved in undeclared work.

Stepping up the fight against undeclared work - EC Communication
Undeclared work is still a problem in Europe and is undermining the EU's ability to meet its targets for more and better jobs and stronger growth, says a new European Commission report released today. The EC Communication 'Stepping up the fight against undeclared work' COM(2007) 628 final identifies the main drivers for the informal economy, sets out successful ways to reduce it and proposes a series of concrete follow-up actions at European and national levels. New figures from Eurobarometer – which has carried out the first ever Europe-wide harmonised survey on this sensitive topic – confirm the existence of a large market for undeclared work all over the EU.

Attractive conditions for the admission and residence of highly qualified immigrants - guide
On 23 October 2007 the European Commission adopted two legislative proposals in the area of economic migration. The first proposal aims at establishing a Framework Directive for the purpose of admission of highly qualified migrants to the EU, creating the EU Blue Card. The second proposal is a Directive establishing a single application procedure for a single residence and work permit and a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State.

Simplified admission procedures and common set of rights for third-country workers - guide
The European Commission on 23 October adopted two legislative proposals in the area of economic migration. The first proposal aims at establishing a Framework Directive for the purpose of admission of highly qualified migrants to the EU, creating the EU Blue Card. The second proposal is a Directive establishing a single application procedure for a single residence and work permit and a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State.