Employment, social affairs & gender equality

Employment, social affairs & gender equality

We believe that Europe will be more efficient and more competitive with a well-trained and fairly treated workforce. We call for a new deal on social progress, guaranteeing decent jobs, labour rights, social protection, social dialogue and the right to organise.

The S&D Group has set out a strong and progressive social agenda putting people and workers at the heart of Europe. We want to strengthen the social dimension of the economic and monetary union (EMU); combat unemployment – especially for young people, older workers and the long-term unemployed; build a better legal framework for workers to mover across borders in order to safeguard wages, social standards, collective bargaining and trade union rights; and create a European system of decent minimum wages to fight poverty.

The S&D Group is still strongly committed to fighting all forms of discrimination and to championing fundamental rights for everyone. We want to close the gaps that affect women on employment and pay, and combat all forms of violence against women.

Our priorities:

•    Treaty change to ensure social rights and economic freedoms get the same prominence – as set out in Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This would guarantee that all new legislation and future treaty revisions would make sure social rights were protected.
•    A 'social Eurogroup' to strengthen the social dimension of the economic monetary –and social – union.
•    Embedding the International Labour Organisation's decent work agenda in European policies.
•    A more balanced and democratic governance system which fully integrates social policy.

Decent work must be the backbone of the European economy in order to build a stronger, more equal society.

Our priorities:

Investing in jobs and opportunities for people
•    Investment is needed at a national and European level to create decent jobs, focusing on infrastructure, energy efficiency and education.
•    A European action plan identifying the skills people need to get work and also the skills employers and managers need to manage their workforce in a socially sustainable way.
•    A European directive to outlaw recruitment discrimination based on unemployment history.

Ending youth unemployment
•    Increased funding for the European Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative.
•    Ensuring that the European Youth Guarantee and the new European Solidarity Corps Initiative provide young people with quality training and job offers.  
•    Extending the age limit for the European Youth Guarantee up to 30 years and expanding it to include young graduates and those with vocational training, as well as unskilled or low-skilled young people.

Tackling inequalities
•    An EU living wage index, as a guideline for good living standards.
•    A European framework for decent minimum wages for all workers.
•    A  European framework directive on minimum-income schemes to guarantee everyone has enough to live on.

Tackling social exclusion
•    A social-progress index measuring social inequalities, with binding targets.
•    A European legal framework to guarantee every citizen a social safety net, with basic income security and universal access to healthcare, goods and services.
•    A European fund for social protection, providing temporary support if a crisis increases the number of people dependant on social protection services.
•    A European Child Guarantee to ensure every European child at risk of poverty has access to free healthcare, education and childcare, as well as decent housing and nutrition.
•    An integrated European plan to combat child poverty, supporting both the child and parents with programmes to improve social inclusion and job prospects.
•    A strong directive on work-life balance to ensure paid leave and social protection for working parents and carers.
•    A revision of the Maternity Leave Directive to improve protection for mothers.
•    A European framework directive on social services of general interest.

Securing decent jobs
•    A European directive on decent working conditions for all types of workers.
•    Measures to help reconcile professional and private life, including investment in quality childcare and elderly care to allow more people to work.
•    Binding targets on decent jobs in the European Semester process.
•    Better protection for workers from harmful substances, in particular those that cause cancer and damage reproductive health. 

Fair competition in the job market
•    A European labour inspectorate.
•    A European social-security number.
•    Equal pay for equal work at the same workplace to end ‘social dumping’.

Shaping the digital labour market
•    A Social Digital Agenda that goes beyond technicalities and takes full advantage of the potential for jobs and growth.
•    A level playing field for businesses in the traditional economy and companies in the digital sector.
•    More and better social protection as part of the response to the digital revolution.
•    A balance between the promise of new technologies and the protection of workers.
•    Fair rights and working conditions for all workers.

Our priorities:

•    A European workers' statute to protect workers’ rights and dignity in Europe.
•    A directive on atypical work, to ensure part-time, casual, temporary and self-employed workers have the protection they need.
•    An EU definition of self-employment to help tackle exploitation.
•    Support structures in all EU countries providing help and advice to posted and migrant workers, with the support of trade unions.
•    Protecting workers against long working hours by applying the Working Time Directive and the rulings of the European Court of Justice strictly.
•    A European strategy for health and safety, including new occupational diseases.
•    A directive on work-related musculoskeletal disorders and a revision of the directive on protecting workers from carcinogens and mutagens at work.
•    A legal framework for occupational stress-related diseases.
•    An asbestos register for all EU member states.
•    A legal framework on health and safety in the hairdressing sector.  
•    A legal framework on informing and consulting workers when companies restructure.
•    Strengthening the European Works Council Directive and employee participation in company decisions.
•    Support for the unionisation of workers.
•    Information and consultation rights for all workers, including those in sub-contracting chains and franchises.
•    Improving corporate social responsibility and governance including enhanced worker participation.

Our priorities:

•    ‘Equal pay for equal work at the same place’: a full revision of the Posting of Workers Directive to make this principle a reality, prevent social dumping and exploitation of migrant workers and ensure fair competition.
•    New EU rules to stop social dumping, giving the Commission powers to investigate cross-border cases and impose fines.
•    A European labour inspectorate to ensure social and labour legislation is enforced across borders in the EU.
•    Closing loopholes on employment and working conditions in the transport and aviation sector to ensure fair competition.
•    Better co-ordination of EU social security systems to allow workers to move freely.
•    A framework directive on working conditions and equal treatment for workers from outside the EU to ensure their rights are protected and prevent social dumping.
•    Provisions to ensure equal wages and working conditions as a precondition for labour migration schemes in trade agreements.

We are deeply committed to our work to ensure fairer treatment for men and women, including measures to improve work-life balance.

Our priorities:

•    A new legislative proposal to improve maternity leave rights.
•    A new directive on paternity leave so fathers get rights to time off too.
•    Revising the 2010 Parental Leave Directive to include payments, to increase the number of fathers and partners who take up the leave they are entitled to.
•    Revising the 2006 Equal Treatment Directive to promote equal treatment and equal pay for men and women, with effective sanctions.
•    Adopting coherent legislation to promote equal sharing of responsibilities.
•    Reinforcing non-legislative measures to promote innovative working time arrangements.
•    Strategic investment to provide more high-quality, affordable childcare.
•    The EU must ratify the Istanbul convention on combatting violence against women.