Brussels, 29 April 2022
On Sunday, 1 May, the European Union will celebrate International Workers’ Day. The Commission is committed to advancing labour rights and promoting the best possible working conditions for people in the EU and beyond, in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights.
EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said:
“Worker’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the policies the EU is putting in place to improve job prospects and working conditions for all: from ensuring adequate minimum wages and promoting social dialogue and collective agreements, to protecting people working on digital platforms, to pushing for equal pay for men and women. The pandemic accelerated many changes on the labour market, and there is no time to lose to adapt our skills and meet these new demands. Sadly, this year’s Worker’s Day takes place against a backdrop of war. We are focusing our efforts on integrating people fleeing Ukraine into the EU’s labour market, by mapping their skills, translating their qualifications, and providing job-matching assistance. As always, the EU stands united and in solidarity.”
The EU has taken a number of concrete steps to strengthen workers’ rights on many fronts. The Commission proposal for adequate minimum wages is currently under negotiation with the European Parliament and the Member States. The EU is also supporting women participation in the labour market through pay transparency rules that can reduce the gender pay gap.
There has also been a breakthrough in breaking the glass ceiling: ten years after the Commission’s proposal, the European Parliament and the Council are now negotiating the proposal on EU rules requiring that women hold at least 40% of non-executive director posts in a company.
During the European Year of Youth, the Commission continues to pay extra attention to the young generations and the challenges they face, for instance via the Youth Guarantee and through the new ALMA initiative that will help young people, who are not in any kind of employment, education or training, find their way to the job market.
In addition, many young people work through digital labour platforms, where the Commission recently proposed legislation to improve their working conditions. The Commission recently presented a Communication on decent work worldwide, in which it reaffirms the EU’s commitment to playing a leading role in promoting decent work that puts people at the centre, making sure their rights and their dignity are respected.
All Recovery and Resilience Plans endorsed so far contribute to social objectives, with 20.4% of social expenditure for instance supporting employment and skills, and implementation is underway. In addition, the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will make available almost €99.3 billion for the period 2021-2027 to invest into people, jobs and skills.
Following the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive, the Commission has helped Member States to ensure people fleeing from Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine can effectively access their right to education, healthcare, accommodation and jobs. To support Member States in this regard, the Commission has paid more than €3.5 billion in advance payments under REACT-EU. More information on the Commission’s actions for a strong social Europe can be found here.