The European Social Model

The European Social Model

Modernisation or Evolution?

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy

This timely book explores the development of the European Social Model and questions whether the relatively high level of social protection provided, both in terms of social welfare provision and in the creation of workers’ rights and employment regulation, is sustainable.

Chapter 5: Terms of Employment and Workplace Health and Safety

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, labour policy


5.1 INTRODUCTION At the heart of the European Social Model is the notion that all citizens can share in the wealth that is created and hence participate fully in society. Having a job is, for most citizens, a precondition to wider social and political participation, while losing or finding a job is still a key factor in moving in and out of poverty (European Commission, 2001b). In this chapter we examine an issue central to social inclusion in Europe: workers’ rights to fair employment, a safe working environment and job security. To that end, we explore and evaluate the current provisions covering the free movement of workers, health and safety (particularly working time) and future provisions in relation to atypical workers’ rights. Overall the two central themes of this chapter are the drive towards the ‘humanisation of work’ embodied in Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty, and the achievement of the free movement of workers throughout the enlarged EU, initially discussed in Chapter 1. The former theme is reflected in the Working Time Directive. This places a duty on Member States to ensure that an employer who intends to organise work according to a certain pattern takes account of the general principle of adapting work to the worker, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a pre-determined work-rate, depending on the type of activity, and of safety and health requirements, especially as regards breaks during working time. (Preamble, Working Time Directive) Beyond health and safety...

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