Year: 2020
Social policy

Road map. Fostering decent working time regulation in the public sector through reinforced employee involvement


Working hours and how they are organised are one of the most critical components of working conditions.

The challenges of working from home, which has unexpectedly become a necessity for a broad group of European workers under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as structural changes in the manner in which work is organised due to the emergence of modern communication technologies in recent decades have made the issue of working time more topical than ever. The new technologies have also brought with them, along with numerous benefits, the threat of working without time limits - in this context, the regulation of the right to disconnection is becoming urgent and important for a growing number of people. The increase in labour productivity due to automation and digitisation has led the developed economies to a point where the legitimacy of the 40-hour working week is questioned and shortened. In many places, however, there are still violations of labour rights in the area of working hours (e.g. unpaid overtime, working longer than the working hours) or too rigid solutions that do not fit the needs of different groups (parents of young children, older workers, convalescents, combining work with study or other duties, etc.).

In the context of these problems, the social partners and legislators are confronted with the need to revise existing legislative solutions and those established in the social dialogue to adapt their workplaces to the changing reality. The project "ENGAGED. Fostering stronger involvement of employees in shaping favourable working time regulations in the public sector (VS/2019/0100)" we tried to review the standards of working time regulation in six European countries: Spain, Lithuania, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Italy, and to identify the most exciting solutions for the arrangement of working hours in these and other EU countries. The result of this work was the preparation of a comparative analytical report covering partner countries and a catalogue of acceptable European practices in the field of working time arrangements.

The latest publication in this series - in the form of the roadmap - contains a summary of the most important conclusions and a set of recommendations formulated by the project partners. It is addressed primarily to trade unions, employers' organisations and companies, as well as to stakeholders shaping public policies in the field of setting working time.

The project ENGAGED is co-financed from the European Union Funds, budget heading ‘Improving Expertise in the field of Industrial Relations’.  Grant agreement number: VP/2019/0100.



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