What Implications for the ‘European Social Model’?
Edited by Marie-Ange Moreau
Chapter 10: The Principle of Non-Discrimination within the Fixed-Term Work Directive
10. The principle of nondiscrimination within the FixedTerm Work Directive Mark Bell Since the early 1980s, the European Union has been actively engaged in a debate about how labour law should respond to the variety existing amongst employment contracts. The archetype is traditionally regarded as the individual who works full-time, on an open-ended contract and who is directly engaged by the firm that provides employment. Reflecting the assumption that this is the standard form of employment relationship, the label ‘atypical’ has been applied to those forms of employment which deviate from the norm, such as part-time, temporary or agency work. These forms of employment have tended to increase over time,1 hence making it more pressing for labour law to adapt to such contractual diversity. In relation to temporary employment contracts, the initial trajectory of EU policy was to seek to limit their growth through close regulation of the circumstances under which a fixed-term employment contract could be created.2 Although this reflected the approach in some domestic labour law systems at the time,3 it did not receive sufficient support within the Member States and there followed a long period of stalemate. A breakthrough first arrived in relation to part-time work (Directive 97/81).4 This was followed by Directive 1999/70 on fixed-term work5 and, after 1 In 2008, 18.2 per cent of workers in the EU were employed part-time, whilst 14 per cent were employed on fixed-term contracts: ‘Employment in Europe 2009’, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European...
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