Quality employment


With over 70% of 20-64 year olds in the EU in work, employment is a social issue, not just an economic one.

With employment having such a strong influence over peoples well-being, it’s important that jobs being offered to people are of a certain quality. For us, quality employment covers five dimensions:

  1. Job security
  2. Adequate minimum wages and fair remuneration
  3. The protection and promotion of health and well-being of employees
  4. Skills improvement
  5. Work-life balance

These five elements of quality employment not only contribute to decreasing in-work poverty and wage disparities including the gender pay gap, but also help to raise employability rates and create a healthier, better-skilled workforce.

Read more about our recommendations on employment in our position paper.

The EU’s efforts to promote quality employment have been articulated by the proposed European Pillar of Social Rights, which the European Commission describes as “a number of key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems.” Get a brief low-down on the Pillar in our handy explainer.

Minimum wages

An adequate minimum wage should guarantee decent living standards to workers and employees.

The introduction of adequate minimum wages for all in the EU would contribute to the establishment of minimum labour standards below which no employment relationship would be considered socially acceptable. Adequate minimum wage should be higher than what is considered an adequate minimum income; as a general rule, at least 60% of national median wage should be the minimum threshold. The principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’, regardless of sector and contract type, would address wage discrepancies such as the gender pay gay. Find out more about our position on minimum wages here.

Work-life balance

In the words of former First Lady of the United States Rosalyn Carter, “There are four kinds of people in the world: those who have been carers; those who currently are carers; those who will be carers; and those who will need carers.”

Every day, thousands of families across the European Union face the struggle of balancing their professional and personal lives. The impact of poor work-life balance is felt most acutely by women and disadvantaged people. With approximately 70 percent of public sector workers being female, cuts to the sector have had a drastic effect on women’s employment, having both social and economic consequences. This is why we encourage decision-makers to ensure that vital services such as child care are adequately regulated and funded – including through EU funds.

Read more about how gender equality can be promoted through work-life balance and investment in services here, and our wider recommendations on care here.