Labor Laws in Europe, is there a need for new laws?
Labor law, also referred to as employment law, is the organization of laws, directorial rulings, and guides which attend to the lawful rights of, and limitations on, working individuals and their associations. Labor regulations arose owing to the demands for employees for improved environment, the right to systematize, or, otherwise, the right to work devoid of unifying with a labor union and the instantaneous demands of managers to confine the influence of workers’ numerous associations and to maintain employment costs low (The Federation of European Employers ¶2-3).
Sources of law
The sources of law of labor in Europe are the European’s community’s Labor law for its affiliate states. The associate nations of the European society are required comply with the agreements of the international Labor Organization which they have ratified. These agreements do not have a direct effect on the domestic laws of the member states. Furthermore, there are commitments to the European Convection on Human Rights and the European Social charter.
European Employment Contract Law
Basis of the employment relationship in every Member State of the European Union is the employment contract freely concluded under private law. Accordingly, the general rules of the law of contract ― such as the rules on concluding contracts, the consequences of a breach of duty (compensation of damages, cancellation of the contract) and the implications of the exclusion of the primary obligation to render services (e.g. loss of consideration, compensation of damages) ― are applicable to the employment contract unless the labor law includes special rules. European Community law is marked by the principle of non-discrimination. Irrespective of these general anti-discrimination laws, Article 141 EC stipulates the equal treatment of men and women in their professional life, especially regarding equal pay (International Labor Law ¶3-4).
Information, communication and participation of employees
1. Employer’s Obligation to Inform When Concluding a Contract. The EC Directive on the Proof of the Employment Contract obliges the employer to document the key points of the employment contract and to hand over the corresponding document to the employee two months after the commencement of work at the latest. This obligation to inform and to document is interpreted extensively.
2. Protection against Discrimination within the Employment Relationship
a) Equal Pay for Men and Women
According to Article 141 EC, each Member State of the European Community has to guarantee the relevance of the standard of equivalent compensation for men and women for the same effort or employment of equivalent assessment. This rule has direct effect and also binds partners to collective bargaining, employees’ representatives in companies and employers. European law understands remuneration not only as the wage in itself but also as any other consideration attributable to the employer which the worker obtains openly or discursively in esteem of his or her service. The Court of Justice of Europe applies the principle of equal pay strictly (Manfred 4).
b) General Anti-Discrimination Law
The Anti-Discrimination Directive providing for a general framework for the realization of equal treatment in employment and occupation prohibits in Article 2 any indirect or direct discrimination in the employment relationship based on religious conviction or faith, age, disability or sexual point of reference. The prohibition of discrimination based on age has a special meaning thereby (Manfred 5).
3. Employee’s Rights in the Event of Restructuring or Closures of Companies
a) Transfer of Undertakings
In order to protect the employees in the event of a transfer of an undertaking, business or part of a business to another employer as a consequence of lawful relocation or amalgamation, the rights and duties derived from an existing employment relationship with the transferor pass over to the transferee by operation of law as provided in the Directive on the Transfer of Undertakings. The employees also gain protection against dismissals due to the transfer. In Germany, this directive has been implemented through 613a BGB. In the past, the definition of a transfer of an undertaking posed a substantial problem in the judgment of the Court of Justice of Europe and of the German Federal Labor Court. The ECJ at first had ruled that already the takeover of one field of activities by a different enterprise represents a transfer of an undertaking.
b) Mass Dismissals
The Collective Redundancies Directive obliges employers to inform and consult the respective employees’ representative in case of dismissals of a large number of workers affected for one or more reasons not related to the individual workers concerned within a certain period of time. It is left to the Member States how to sanction this obligation to consult. German law has included corresponding provisions of its Dismissal Protection Act for a long time. Accordingly, in Germany it is assumed that information and dismissal are not effective until consultations have been held. According to the directive, the competent public authority has to be notified of the mass dismissal. The obligation to notify is combined with a provision that the mass dismissals will not be effective until 30 days after arrival of the notification at the competent authority (Manfred 6-7).
c) Bankruptcy of the Owner
In case of bankruptcy, the Insolvency, rather, Bankruptcy Directive obliges the Member States to ensure the guarantee of payment of the employees’ outstanding claims at least the last three months preceding the onset of the employer’s insolvency. It is thereby left to the Member States to determine which institution is responsible for this guarantee. It grants the employees insolvency guarantee payments coming from contributions imposed on the employers.
4. Particular Forms of Employment
a) Part-Time Work
The Directive on Part-Time Work implemented the framework agreement of the social partners on part-time work. Its focus is the principle of non-discrimination. Unless an unequal treatment is objectively justified, part-time workers may not be treated worse than comparable full-time workers in their employment just because they are employed part time
b) Fixed-Term Contracts
The Directive on Fixed-Term Work implemented the outline agreement of the social partners on fixed-term contracts. This directive includes the principle of non-discrimination, too: fixed-term workers may not be treated worse than comparable continuously employed workers only due to their fixed-term employment (Manfred 8).
European Law on the Protection of Employees at Work
1. Health Protection and Safety at Work
The Framework Directive on the Introduction of Improvements in the Health Protection and safety at work is of central significance for the protection of employees at work in Europe. On the one hand, it contains rules in a general form for the equipment of the workplace and the work organization in the enterprise with the aim of avoiding accidents at work and preventing occupational health risks.
2. Maternity Protection, Parental Leave, Protection of Young People at Work
a) Maternity Protection, Parental Leave
First of all, the Maternity Protection Directive prohibits the occupation of pregnant employees with activities which represent a risk for the protection and wellbeing of the expectant women. The directive also determines that pregnant women and mothers for a certain period of time after delivery may not be obliged to do night-time work. The Maternity Protection Directive also provides for a maternity leave of at least 14 continuous weeks. However, it is basically left to the Member States how this leave is allocated before and after confinement. Finally, the Maternity Protection Directive provides for a prohibition of dismissal throughout the interlude from the commencement of the expectancy to the ending of the maternity leave.
3. Regulation of Working Time
For the protection of workers, the Working Time Directive regulates the maximum R. L. R. Labor Law in Europe daily working time, rest periods, night work, shift work and work rhythm. It also provides for a minimum paid annual vacation of four weeks (Manfred 9-12).
Collective Labor Law
1. Collective Bargaining Law and Trade Dispute Law
According to the principle of free cooperative negotiations, in the Affiliate Nations of the European Community the working conditions and the remuneration in particular are largely regulated by collective agreements. European law does not offer any further basis for European collective agreements.
2. European Works Councils
The purpose of the instruction on the institution of a Works Council of Europe is the cross-border acquaintance and conference of workers in community-balance accomplishments and factions of activities. This aim may be achieved either through the institution of a European Works Council or through the establishment of an information and consultation procedure.
3. Involvement in the Organs of the European Company
The directive complementing the decree for a European corporation with consideration to the participation of workers aims at ensuring that the creation of a European Company does not entail the disappearance or reduction of practices of employee involvement existing within the companies participating in the establishment of a European Company (Manfred 14).
International Labor Law (Conflict of Laws)
1. Applicable Substantive Law
As far as labor law systematically belongs to the law of contractual obligations, the general principles on international private law in it apply to the collision of two national legal systems in Europe, too.
2. Court of Jurisdiction
Article 19 of the Council Regulation No. 44/2001 on authority and the appreciation and imposing of rulings in municipal and business issues specifies that a worker can prosecute his boss either in the courts of the associate nation where the boss is domiciled or in a different associate nation in the judges for the position where the worker performs his work.
Does Europe Need a New Labor Law?
The European Commission disputed least number of rights for substandard employees and how employment laws should imitate the altering description. Ever since 2000, additional professions have been formed in the outline of part-time rather than complete time average employment treaties, predominantly when it comes to women. Individuals ultimately become “self-employed,” primarily in areas such as farming, vending, building and individual services – like delegating contracts or outsourcing (Kubosova ¶1-2).
The European Union senior manager is asking affiliate nations, managers and employment unions whether it is supposed to procure new lawful steps to shun these inclinations and to defend those functioning under such preparations. It has hoisted the likelihood of initiating extra EU-extensive lawful characterizations of employment-law correlated expressions, like “worker” and “self-employment” – in addition to “floor of rights” as the “minimum requirements on the working conditions of all workers regardless of the form of their work contract.” The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is obliging of the proposal (Kubosova ¶3-4).
However, UNICE’s Jeanne Schmitt, the prevalent pan-European commerce coalition, opposes. He claims that he does not see the necessity to introduce such novel descriptions or any other EU employment regulations as it is the field of nationwide proficiency. Furthermore, she argues that nationwide characterizations and regulations mirror the financial condition, developments and civilization in existing affiliate states. She concluded by saying that the existing laws should be followed instead creating innovative ones. Moreover, the existing partition in the EU over operational time regulations demonstrates that it is healthier to respect nationwide disparities rather than inflict EU-extensive resolutions in the region.
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