Reforming Employment Protection Legislation

IBS contributed to European Employment Policy Observatory (EEPO) thematic seminar “Reforming Employment Protection Legislation” in Brussels on June 16, 2015.
The seminar aimed to discuss the effectiveness of policy actions taken in the Member States to tackle labour market segmentation and regulate emerging working patterns in European labour markets and explore ways forward at national and/or European level.   Dr Mário Centeno (Special Advisor of the Board at the Bank de Portugal) presented recent reforms in EPL in Portugal, Professor Simon Deakin (Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge) discussed trends in EPL reforms and the case of the Zero Hours Contract in the UK, and Piotr Lewandowski (President of the Board of IBS) presented the nature of labour market segmentation in Poland, with a focus on civil law contracts. The seminar was chaired by Detlef Eckert (Director, DG EMPL Directorate C) and Georg Fischer (Director, DG EMPL Directorate A).   Participants agreed that countries struggling with segmented labour markets, characterised by a two-tier labour market with little crossover capacity between a ‘primary’ sector offering secure jobs and a ‘secondary’ sector with high rotation of the workforce, have not yet found an efficient and universal policy solution to this challenge. Reforms have often focused on working hours rules, lowering labour costs and marginal changes to labour law, but mostly failed to tackle the uncertainty regarding the dismissal process of workers on open-ended contracts, and interactions between various labour market institutions. Given the diversity of legal systems, a convergence of national employment protection legislation is unlikely. However, the EU offers a unique platform for exchange and mutual learning, developing a common approach to a number of institutional factors leading to labour market segmentation, and developing novel policy solutions, like the single employment contract.  
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