EU is gaining speed on social protection

Universal access to adequate social protection throughout the life is key to support people in vulnerable situations and during transitions, ensuring a dignified life and full participation in society to everyone. In the era of exploding inequalities, it is also an important tool to redistribute the wealth produced and move towards more equal societies.

This is why at Social Platform we believe that granting everyone protection independently from its employment status shall be a priority for the EU and its Member States together with ensuring that such social protection is effective, that it is adequate (in terms of coverage and financing) and accessible.

Data show how pressing this issue is. The effectiveness of our social protection systems to tackle poverty and social exclusion is constantly decreasing. Despite economic recovery, the depth and persistence of poverty are increasing. 40% of workers in the EU are nowadays employed in “atypical” jobs where they not always have access to social protection or have only partial access. Among “non-standard” workers, self-employed (including bogus self-employed and platform workers) face the biggest challenges: they are three times more likely to experience poverty than employees.

Considering these circumstances, we welcome the fact that the debate around social protection is gaining speed and goes beyond the NGOs bubble.

Every party involved in discussions around the changing nature of work, demographic ageing or digitalisation is faced with the emerging gaps in our social protection systems and tries to analyse and to give answers to the challenges that social protection has to overcome to adapt to new realities.

This is the case for the European Policy Centre (EPC), who recently held the first meeting of its Task Force on Social Protection in the 21st Century that I had the opportunity to attend, for the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), who recently launched a research project on the GIG economy, and for trade unions who are organising a large conference on those topics at the end of the month.

All this research and analysis, together with the findings and recommendations it will produce, will be important to support our advocacy action on this subject.

In the past years, we identified social protection as one of the social standards that should be implemented at the EU level and successfully advocated for its inclusion among the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The EU institutions are currently negotiating two initiatives that have the potential to bring positive change to the life of millions of people in Europe: firstly, the proposed directive on predictable and transparent working conditions and secondly, the draft Council recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed.

Together with our members, we will follow closely negotiations on these two files, supporting their swift adoption and advocating for ambitious implementation.