ETUC calls for Written Statement Directive to be overhauled

The ETUC is calling for the 1991 Written Statement Directive, which obliges employers to give employees written details on the employment relationship, to be thoroughly reformed and modernised. It is the first chance for the EU to demonstrate that the European Pillar of Social Rights can be translated into real rights in the workplace.

At the moment, the Directive simply requires employers to provide information on the terms and conditions of employment. The ETUC is calling for the Directive to include fair terms and conditions of employment enforceable for the workers.

The ETUC has made a number of recommendations on how this can be achieved including:

  • Covering as many workers as possible, for example the growing number of self-employed and gig economy workers;
  • Providing information before the start of the employment relationship;
  • Extending the information requirements, such as on payment and working time;
  • Providing a right to adequate remuneration and guaranteed hours (putting an end to zero-hour type contracts);
  • Ensure online platforms do not avoid or evade their responsibilities as employers.

The ETUC is calling on the European Commission to come up with a legislative proposal as it is not convinced that the conditions are right for a formal negotiation with employers on this issue, because:

- An up-to-nine-month negotiation starting now would make it impossible for the current Commission and Parliament to consider any revision of the Directive (and could be used as a delaying tactic);

- Employers have set out limits on the scope of the negotiations which the ETUC does not find acceptable as a basis for genuine negotiations.

The ETUC was ready in the summer for a negotiation with the employers, and remains open to discussions with employers before and after a proposal is made by the Commission.

Any common position between unions and employers on the revision could be communicated to the EU institutions, and would have a big influence on the final outcome.