Eurofound (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) has published their annual report on the latest developments in working conditions across the European Union and Norway. Overviews of the latest developments in the areas of health and wellbeing at work and equality and equal opportunities were compiled by Praxis’ experts.
In the field of occupational health and safety, the focus has shifted from conventional physical hazards to mental health and health dangers stemming from technological advances, such as the use of information and communications technologies and carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals. The overview highlights the need to engage a wide variety of social partners to ensure sustainable development at work. The aim is to examine the links between work demands and personal development needs in order to identify living and working conditions that would enable the ageing population lead a happier and more successful work life. Many Member States have adjusted their national strategies and tools, thereby raising more awareness on the aforementioned issues; still, regulations only followed in select Member States.
In the field of equality and equal opportunity, EU wide research emphasises the complexity of issues and the consequent slow progress in reaching the 2020 goals. The biggest problem areas are vertical and horizontal gender segregation in the labor market, pregnancy and childbirth-related discrimination and the gender pay gap. Although there is discussion at EU level about the introduction of 40% quotas to ensure female representation in stock-listed board rooms, little progress has been made in introduction of legal measures. Still, Estonia, Finland and Germany have strengthened their already existing equality programmes. In general, gender equality was focused on the most, there were no new developments in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and religion in 2015.
For the full report on developments in working life across the European Union and in Norway, see EurWORK annual review 2015.