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182 Million Workers in Europe Are Set to Benefit from Extensive and Modernised Working Rights

Publication: ZRVP

By 1 August 2022, Member States must have transposed Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (the “Directive”) into national law.

In its intensive attempts to turn the European Pillar of Social Rights into a tangible reality for people across the EU, the Council has adopted the Directive to create a reliable background which would give workers stability and ultimately even better allow them to organise their spare time.

Implementation status in Romania

As of 1 August 2022, the rights set out in the Directive must be part of each Member State’s national law. It is for the Member States, including their judicial authorities, to ensure that workers’ rights are effectively respected and protected in accordance with their national legislation and international human rights obligations. However, the legislative implementation process in Romania has not yet been completed and thus the current proposed form may undergo changes.

What rights does the Directive guarantee?

Essentially, a series of thresholds which ought to set higher standards in the world of work, applicable in all Member States, refers to specific rights expressly ensured for all workers. More precisely, greater protection should be ensured for all workers in the EU by the following legal means:

  • The employer must give complete information, early and in writing, on the essential aspects of the work, such as the amount of paid leave or details related to the work pattern and any arrangements for overtime and its remuneration. The employer has to retain proof of transmission or receipt of such information.
  • When the employee decides to take up another job with another employer, any possible restrictions to this right imposed by the former employer need to be justified on objective grounds.
  • The employers have to ensure that employees are well-informed about an assignment within a reasonable notice period. If the employer does not ensure minimum predictability of work assignments as imposed by the Directive, then a worker can refuse such work assignment without any other adverse consequences.
  • Employees shall receive free-of-cost mandatory training related to the job where the employer has a duty to provide this. According to the Directive, such training should be provided during working hours and should count as working time.

More precisely, the aim of the new rules ought to bring additional benefits for employers, at least by:

  • Obviously ensuring a higher degree of transparency and predictability related to actual working conditions and thus aiming to establish, on the one hand, an increased degree of work productivity, but also to contribute to the increase in the quality of the private life of employees. Such adaptation might also contribute to an adjustment of the “work-life balance”, also a principle encouraged by the European legislator,
  • Setting minimum standards for workers’ protection, which must be unitarily applicable across EU countries, further contributing to a fairer competition and keeping the pace with developments in labour markets,
  • Ensuring alternatively less formal communication approaches in the employee-employer relationship, by allowing for additional methods to provide information, including electronic instruments.

What happens if employment contracts are not in line with the new rules? 

When workers consider that their rights are not sufficiently protected by their own employment contracts, in accordance with the national legislation, which subsequently has to be aligned with the European dispositions, then one should make use of all the legal mechanisms available to them, such as addressing to competent labour courts.

Quite certainly, one cannot turn a blind eye to far-reaching changes of labour market mostly due to digitalization development. Digital skills and technologies are inherent in most jobs and have proven to be successful work environments and work tools in the context of social distancing. Therefore, innovation shall be ensured through adapted working rights which aim to break away from what we consider “traditional work”, and which shall ultimately encourage both employees and employers to frame essential working conditions as to provide a sense of freedom.

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