APPENDIX 1: CALL FOR EVIDENCE
Inquiry into the EU Commission Green Paper "Modernising
labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century"
EU Sub-Committee G (Social Policy and Consumer Affairs)
is conducting an Inquiry into the issues raised by the European
Commission's Green Paper "Modernising labour law to meet
the challenges of the 21st century", published on 22 November
2006. The Green PaperCOM(2006) 708 finalis available
on the Commission website at:
The Commission's consultation is intended to launch
a debate on how labour law can evolve to support the EU's objective
of achieving sustainable growth with more and better jobs. They
recognise that rapid technological progress and globalisation
have fundamentally changed European labour markets. Fixed term
contracts, part-time work, on-call and zero-hour contracts, hiring
through temporary employment agencies and freelance contracts
have become an established feature of the European labour market,
accounting for 25% of the workforce. At the same time, there is
a growing gap between those looking for work, those in non-standard,
sometimes precarious contractual arrangements on the one hand
(so-called 'outsiders'), and those in permanent, full-time jobs
on the other (the 'insiders').
The Commission's view is that employment rules which
are clear and easy to understand are as important for employers
as they are for workers. Even though many aspects of labour law
are dealt with at national level, they seek views about how labour
law at EU and national level can help the job market become more
flexible while maximizing security for workers (the 'flexicurity'
Interested parties are invited to submit a concise
statement of written evidence to this Inquiry by Friday 30 March
2007. In particular, we would welcome responses to some or all
of the following questions:
Flexibility of the labour market
How flexible is the labour market in the UK? What
could be the benefits of making it more flexible, and how could
this be achieved? In which ways, if any, could changes in labour
law help with this?
What is the extent of employment security in the
UK? What could be the benefits of changing the present arrangements
for employment security? In which ways, if any, could changes
in labour law help with this?
The concept of "Flexicurity"
How helpful do you think is the Commission's concept
of "flexicurity" seeking to combine the ideals of a
flexible labour market with those of employment security? How
practical could it be to strike a balance between these two ideals
and where should such a balance be struck? In which ways, if any,
could changes in labour law help with this?
Other labour market challenges
What other challenges are facing those involved in
the labour market? Respondents may wish to comment on their knowledge
of a variety of different types of "subordinate" employment
contracts and/or on their knowledge of the challenges faced by
those in self-employment, "economically-dependent" self-employment
and agency work. To what extent could changes in labour law help
to address these challenges?
Groups covered by labour law
To which categories of workers should labour law
apply? Are any workers currently excluded that ought, in your
view, to be included? What is your view of the issues raised by
the Green Paper about the applicability of labour law to groups
of workers whose employment status is intermediate between that
of employee and self-employed?
Role of EU Regulation
What is the role of regulation at the EU-level in
achieving a modernised system of labour law? Are there any specific
pieces of EU legislation that need either to be repealed or to
be introduced? Do you consider that the Green Paper's proposed
"Floor of Rights" for all workers is a viable one? In
order to promote worker mobility, would a Community-wide definition
of "worker" be useful?