Between now and 2020, 75 % of those aged between 20 and 64 should be in employment, thereby meeting one of the core targets devised by the European Union in its “Europe 2020” strategy, which were devised to highlight ways out of the financial and economic crisis and help draw up a vision for the European social market economy for the Twenty-first Century.
Equally, in addition to the aim of allowing as many people in Europe as possible access to employment, there is also the challenge of improving the quality of work. This includes both the quality of employment contracts and the quality of conditions in the workplace.
The dramatic increase in atypical employment relationships in addition to jobs that do not pay enough to cover workers’ immediate needs mean that not only those with no employment, but also more and more workers finding themselves in precarious living situations – living situations that make it difficult and even impossible for the workers themselves and their family to be secure and to planned for the future.
Corporate social responsibility is one instrument that helps define criteria relating to the quality of employment conditions and how they can be improved. This idea highlights those measures that companies can choose to adopt voluntarily in addition to the legal provisions. This does not take anything away from the fact that, in some areas, such as, for example, health and safety in the workplace, only total compliance with the legal provisions by the company often represents progress vis-à-vis the status quo.
The brochure has been published in English and can be requested from EZA.