Eu legislation employment relationship

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eu legislation employment relationship

The concept of an individual employment relationship expands the coverage of EU labour regulation from a narrower scope limited to a. Abstract: This paper examines the role of the European Union (EU) in influencing the development of employment relationships in the Member States. health, safety, work, equal opportunities, women, discrimination, protection, labour law. company agreements · Directors General for Industrial Relations.

The government itself can be challenged in court on the grounds that it has failed to implement a directive fully. Infor example, the then Equal Opportunities Commission EOC effectively forced the government to bring forward the Sex Discrimination Amendment Regulations extending sexual harassment and maternity leave rights which the EOC claimed were needed for the UK to comply fully with the sex discrimination directives.

Sometimes, governments revisit areas of employment regulation which derive from EU directives and amend them they can do this provided the basic requirements of the original directive are still met.

The Coalition government modified regulations introduced under the previous Labour government which went further in regulating employment practices than was strictly required by the relevant directive.

eu legislation employment relationship

These amending treaties refer to two so-called 'main treaties' setting out the constitutional arrangements of the EU in detail: The legal principles contained within the articles of a treaty can be directly enforceable in national courts from the date the treaty comes into effect, provided they are 'clear and precise, unconditional and unqualified' and are not subject to any additional EU legal measures.

When deciding cases, the courts are obliged to apply the principle in the treaty if it conflicts, or is incompatible, with any existing national laws. There is only one major employment-related treaty article which has direct effect in the UK: Article of the Treaty of Rome, enshrining the principle that men and women should be paid equally for carrying out work of equal value.

Employment law: UK, EU and Brexit

The practical effect of Article in the UK has been highly significant. The result was the introduction of the principle that a woman can use a man employed to do a wholly different kind of job in her organisation as her comparator when claiming their jobs are of equal value, and that men can cite women as comparators in the same way.

eu legislation employment relationship

Regulations European regulations also have direct effect and come into effect on a set date. For the most part they are used to amend existing law in relatively minor ways, and have mainly concerned health and safety, such as is the EU regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals REACH on handling hazardous chemical substances which has been phased in over a year period since How European directives are made European directives in the employment field tend to start out as proposals put forward by the 'social partners' in dialogue with the European Commission, whose officials oversee the whole law-making process.

The term 'social partners' in this context means trade union and employer association representatives meeting at European level. Their proposals are then discussed in the Council of Ministers, the principle law-making body in the EU and, once a draft Directive has been agreed, are debated and voted on in the European Parliament.

Sometimes, however, the Council of Ministers will ask the European Commission to formulate a draft directive, and the European Parliament also has the capacity to initiate new legislation. Council of Ministers The next stage in the legislative process, when the Council of Ministers considers the draft directive, is the most important.

The Council is made up of one representative from each member state, normally the employment minister in the case of employment-related draft directives.

Employment Law EU and Brexit | Factsheets | CIPD

The Council meets in private to debate the draft directive, usually in a series of meetings held over a number of months. Draft directives in some areas require unanimous support.


This is achieved by doing deals with ministers from other governments who are looking to block different directives that are going to be difficult for them to sell to their electorates. It is through this mechanism that successive UK governments have managed to retain the provision which permits employers to require employees to 'opt out' of the hour working week limit that is central to the Working Time Directive.

No other country in Europe operates the opt-out system and the UK is periodically put under considerable pressure to abandon it.

Employment relations in the EU |

However, ministers always seem to manage to stave off attempts to impose a change on the UK by conceding points to others in different areas and thereby forming an effective blocking minority.

The last elections were held in May The Parliament can vote down a directive, accept it or, as often happens, accept a directive in principle, but want to see it amended. Where this happens the amended directive is sent back to the Council of Ministers for a 'second reading'. When the two bodies fail to agree about the amendments, negotiation occurs, but ultimately where agreement cannot be reached, the Council of Ministers version becomes law unless the Parliament decides to vote it down completely.

The Directive clearly envisages paid employment relationships, which are not contractual.

Employment relations in the EU

Moreover, the Directive does not specify from whom the payment comes. In contracts of employment, payment will normally be received from the employer.

eu legislation employment relationship

However, employment relationships may not be as direct as employment contracts, and the modalities of remuneration are more diverse. What is an essential aspect of the employment relationship will depend on the nature of the relationship. The degree of specification required is variable.

eu legislation employment relationship

For example, the place of work need not be fixed Article 2 2 b ; there need be no work title - a brief description of the work will suffice Article 2 2 c ; leave and notice entitlements may be indicated through a procedure or method of determining them Article 2 2 f,g ; and relevant collective agreements only where appropriate Article 2 2 j.

However, there is required information on the date of commencement of the relationship Article 2 2 d ; if a temporary relationship, the expected duration Article 2 2 e ; remuneration entitlement Article 2 2 hwithin the broad sense of rewards described above, and normal working time Article 2 2 i. What these elements of an employment relationship comprise is the recognition by EU labour law that work has taken new forms, which may not fall within the classical common law definition of contracts of employment.

eu legislation employment relationship

Such employment relationships are likely to fall within the scope of the EU labour law laid down in this Directive.