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The rise in telework: Impact on working conditions and regulations

This report presents Eurofound’s research on telework during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It explores changes in the incidence of telework, working conditions experienced by employees working from home and changes to regulations addressing issues related to this working arrangement. The findings reveal a rapid escalation of telework triggered by the pandemic: in 2021, 2 out of 10 European employees were teleworking – a figure that most likely would not have been reached before 2027 had the pandemic not occurred.

Cross-border telework in the EU: fab or fad?

Before COVID-19, the incidence of structural telework in the European Union was flat, at around 3% of all employees. In 2020, the rate jumped to 11% because of social-distancing measures. This shock is expected to have lingering effects as workers now demand more flexible working conditions, including the possibility to telework. This change is also taking place on the labour demand side, with employers increasingly advertising remote work possibilities. 

Moving with the times: Emerging practices and provisions in collective bargaining

This report analyses recent developments and emerging practices in collective bargaining processes and outcomes, mainly in the private sector. The report covers collective bargaining systems in 10 EU Member States and is based on cases identified through interviews with key stakeholders and negotiating parties at national level. It analyses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic and social crisis on collective bargaining dynamics and collective agreements.

How to ensure adequate minimum wages in an age of inflation

Minimum wages have risen significantly in 2022, as the EU Member States leave behind the cautious mood of the pandemic. However, rising inflation is eating up these wage increases, and only flexibility in the regular minimum wage setting processes may avoid generalised losses in purchasing power among minimum wage earners.

Minimum wages: Council and European Parliament reach provisional agreement on new EU law

The presidency of the Council and European Parliament negotiators reached a provisional political agreement on the draft directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU. The new law – once finally adopted – will promote the adequacy of statutory minimum wages and thus help to achieve decent working and living conditions for European employees.

Minimum wages in 2022: Bigger hikes this time around

The first overview of minimum wage setting for 2022 shows that, while some negotiations are still ongoing, virtually all EU Member States have increased their nominal statutory rates. Compared to last year, when most countries settled for cautious increases against a background of deep uncertainty caused by the pandemic, growth in statutory rates for 2022 was stronger, reflecting an easing of the situation. This was especially the case in central and eastern European countries, where some increases were in double digits.

Council agrees on mandate for negotiations on a EU framework on adequate minimum wages

The Council today (6/12/2021) agreed its position on a Commission proposal for an EU law on adequate minimum wages in the EU. Fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living are one of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. To improve working and living conditions, this draft law establishes a framework to promote adequate levels of statutory minimum wages, to promote collective bargaining on wage setting and to improve the effective access to minimum wage protection of those workers who are entitled to a minimum wage.

As Member States take different approaches to regulating telework, will the EU bring them into line?

The massive and rapid adoption of telework in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 lockdowns exposed gaps in the legislation governing telework arrangements across the EU Member States. In some cases, there was no regulation in place; in others, it was too restrictive. Governments scrambled to put temporary measures in place to cover the emergency situation and the urgent need to enable workers to work from home. Now that the pandemic is receding and wholesale telework seems to be here to stay, governments are faced with the need to properly regulate such arrangements.

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