This chapter reviews critically the intersection of non-standard employment and EU employment regulation. It is developed around a two-fold argument. First, taking off from an examination of non-standard employment in terms of magnitude and cross-national variation it is demonstrated that it is not a homogeneous category in terms of workers’ rights and even within particular forms of non-standard employment there is considerable variation in terms of employment characteristics and work quality. Second, the scope and coverage of EU employment regulation relating to non-standard employment does not afford protection to individuals in the most precarious elements of non-standard employment because they are not likely to be in a position to vindicate the formal rights afforded by such regulation and many are in forms of employment that are not explicitly targeted by EU employment regulation. The first section of the chapter focuses on disaggregating the concept of non-standard employment. The second section discusses the three forms of non-standard employment that are explicitly targeted by EU directives – part-time and fixed-term contract employment and temporary agency work. This is followed by a discussion of self-employment and precarious employment enclaves. The concluding section situates the analysis in the context of the broad thrust of the European Employment Strategy. It points to the problem of vindicating formal rights and accessing social protection in the context of structural change which has intensified the demands for increased labour market flexibility in a labour market increasingly characterized by a shrinking middle in terms of employment quality as reflected in economic security and by declining union density. It asks if the present regulatory framework at EU and member state level is adequate to meet the needs of those in the most vulnerable employment situations and if there is a role for the Open Method of Coordination process in terms of enhancing the visibility and framing the policy options in relation to these needs.
|Title of host publication||Non-Standard Employment in Europe Paradigms, Prevalence and Policy Responses|
|Editors||Max Koch, Martin Fritz|
|Place of Publication||Houndmills, Basingstoke, England|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2013|
O'Connor, J. S. (2013). 'Non-Standard Employment and European Union Employment Regulation'. In M. Koch, & M. Fritz (Eds.), Non-Standard Employment in Europe Paradigms, Prevalence and Policy Responses (pp. 46-63). Houndmills, Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.