EU Employment Ministers want social protection for all workers including self-employed


EU Employment Ministers meeting in the Employment Council yesterday agreed to recommend that all member states should guarantee adequate and effective social protection - such as sickness, unemployment, maternity and paternity benefits and pensions - to all working people including the self-employed. Unfortunately the Ministers did NOT agree to recommend that mandatory social protection should include the self-employed – who now make up more than 15% of the Europe’s workforce - somewhat undermining the principle of equal social protection for all.

“While excluding the self-employed from obligatory social protection, it does offer hope for people currently not getting adequate social protection such as those on very part-time, temporary and other sorts of precarious contracts” said Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary at the European Trade Union Confederation, “and could bring about better welfare protection for the self-employed in many countries including France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands.”

“The political agreement takes the EU a bit closer to implementing the principle of effective social protection contained in the European Pillar of Social Rights.”

The Employment Council resisted arguments from some member states that the ‘subsidiarity principle’ and national competence in social protection should reduce the ambition of the recommendation on access to social protection. The Czech and German Parliaments will now have to approve the text voted today, and official adoption of the recommendation is expected in the first quarter of next year. 

“It is crucial that the national Parliaments do not delay.”