SME Chamber

Part-time Work and Fixed Term Contracts –

Are the Directives still relevant? Have they
fulfilled their objectives? GRTU EU & International Desk
Coordinator Abigail Psaila Mamo has this week attended a meeting in Brussels on
the Evaluative Study of the Part-Time Work (PTW) and Fixed Term Contracts (FTC)

Both the PTW and FTC
Directives resulted from framework agreements drafted by social partners at EU
level, signed some 15 years ago. The Directives have similar objectives, mainly
aimed at non-discrimination, preventing abuse and equal access to opprtunities
and information between on the one hand part time and full time workers and on
the other hand workers on fixed term and those on permanent contracts.

The European Commission,
though an independent consultancy carrying out research within the member
states, is seeking to analyse the level of implementation and the relevance of
the Directives today. Should the results of the study be negative, the
Commission might consider making changes in the Directives to address certain
lacks, which however might lead to disproportionate protection of workers and
more rigid labour market regulations, which we as employers' representatives
are against and therefore argues that the Directives should remain unchanged.
The report by the consultants has not yet been concluded, however preliminary
results indicate that a revision might not be required.

The employers
representatives agree with this conclusion as we feel that implementation was
effective and successful and the scope of the Directives are still clear and
relevant so there is no realistic need for further initiatives in this regard
at EU level.

Representatives at the
conference agreed in general that most problems related to PTW and FTC emanated
from national legislation and not from the Directives. The Governments in the
MS therefore should provide clearer information and address certain problems in
their law directly.

Employers have also
exchanged views on an issue being pushed by trade unions. The unions are saying
that PTW is a form of precarious work and that workers are forced into it as
they prefer full-time employment and full time employment is the ideal type of
employment. Employers disagree with such position. We see PTW as very
important. PTW increases access to the labour market for unemployed persons. It
provides the highly needed flexibility to employers but most especially to employees.
PTW also plays an important role in the attempt at balancing work and private

A number of Member States
have gone further in the implementation of the Directives by introducing
additional initiatives providing further protection.

Till now the study has
outlined that 6 countries have registered significant changes in part-time,
while 11 countries have registered moderate. 8 countries have registered
significant changes for fixed term, while 14 countries have registered
moderate. It has also become evident that since the Directives started being
implemented clarity amongst employers and employees increased. For fixed term
greater flexibility was also registered.

The study is still
ongoing and the final results will be available in October.



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