On January 31st, the European Commission adopted a report on the implementation efforts of the recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed, three years after its adoption by the European Council.

The report demonstrates that the level of ambition in putting the Recommendation into practice varies significantly among Member States. While some Member States have set out or planned reforms to improve the situation for workers and the self-employed, most Member States do not aim at closing all existing gaps in access to social protection.

In 2021, almost 40% of the population in employment in the EU (77 million people) were in non-standard forms of work. In the constantly evolving labour market, a large number of people are left without sufficient access to social protection. The reported data shows that at least 5.6 million non-standard workers and 15.3 million self-employed people in the EU do not have access to unemployment benefits. Equally, temporary-contract employees face higher material and social deprivation compared to permanent-contract employees and so do part-timers compared to full-time workers.

According to the report, better monitoring, reducing social and fiscal incentives for solo self-employment and short-term contracts, and regulating platform work could help to improve access to adequate social protection schemes. Moreover, transparency is a crucial factor to improving access to social protection, as social protection rules are often too complex or unclear and people may not be aware of their rights.

A recently published report by the network of independent experts on social protection provides further information about the state of play of transparency of social protection systems across EU Member States.

Find out more about Eurodiaconia’s work on employment and active inclusion here.