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European Labour Law Network

Working Paper No. 1

This labour law working paper explores the implications of a new ‘Employee Shareholder’ status in United Kingdom employment law. Due to enter into force in September 2013, it will deny employees in the United Kingdom access to key employment rights such as unfair dismissal protection and redundancy pay in return for a shareholding in their employer valued at a minimum of £2,000 (approximately €2,300). The paper sets out the details of the new status, and evaluates the reform in United Kingdom. The new notion is not only difficult to square with existing structures in United Kingdom Company and Employment Law, but is also unnecessarily complex and thus fails to live up to the Coalition Government’s proclaimed goals. On a more fundamental level, the employee shareholder status in the United Kingdom represents an unprecedented attack on the very core relationship of employment law, the contract of employment: divorced from employment protective norms, it loses its key public-regulatory function, the distribution of risk between workers and their employing entities. As a result, employment rights become subject to market forces in negotiation between workers and their employers in the United Kingdom.

 

Working Paper No. 2

This labour law working paper describes the features of Croatia’s labour law at the time of EU accession. To better understand these features, the working paper introduces statistical data on Croatia’s economy and labour market. The next section on the Croatian Labour Act highlights the influence of Germany’s protective labour legislation on Croatian labour law. The section on Croatia’s individual labour law explores inflexible and flexible forms of employment (particularly temporary agency work) as well as regulation of working time. To depict the characteristics of Croatia’s trade union scene, the section on Croatian collective labour law explains the role of trade unions in the regulation of after-effect of collective agreements. Finally, the concluding section emphasises the lack of strategy in shaping the policy and legislative framework; too many amendments of relevant laws that hamper the principle of legal certainty, and legislative provisions that are too complex and are neither in the interest of the employers nor of the employees.

 

Working Paper No. 3

Facing the economic crisis, Greek labour law has been marked by several changes. If the first steps consisted of a strengthening of the protective rules, the measures taken subsequently are moving towards deregulation and appear to alter its nature. The amendments made to the collective labour law are particularly important, so that one can speak of a deconstruction of the collective labour relations.

 

Working Paper No. 4

This labour law Working Paper describes the correlation between the new Labour Code (of 2012) and the new Civil Code (of 2013) in the Hungarian law system. The examination is not autotelic. Since labour law was artificially separated from private law before the regime’s economic and political change on the grounds of political and law policy, the implementation of principles and rules of civil law was out of the question, despite the fact that a cautious opening could be observed in law enforcement. After the change of regime, labour law created a relatively closed system and consequently could not find a solution to a number of problems that were raised by the labour market. Labour law was characterised by random flexibility and marginal security. In the course of the elaboration of the new Labour Code (LC) and the new Civil Code (CC), the indicated problem resurfaced, already as a possible crisis management tool, in order to also create a new type of flexibility and security. However, the endeavour to establish a transparent connection between labour law and private law failed, despite the initial intentions.

 

Working Paper No. 5

Zero-Hours Contracts have become one of the most high-profile employment law issues in the UK today. In this labour law working paper, we analyse the legal and empirical evidence of work under Zero-Hours arrangements and suggest that whilst a legal engagement with Zero-Hours Contracts as an unresolved labour market problem is long overdue, the current discourse surrounding these work arrangements is fundamentally flawed: there is no such thing as the Zero-Hours Contract as a singular category; the label serves as no more than a convenient shorthand for masking the explosive growth of precarious work for a highly fragmented workforce. Ongoing attempts at regulating Zero-Hours Contracts thus constitute a significant shift towards the normalisation of all but the most extreme forms of abusive employment arrangements, leaving a rapidly increasing number of workers without recourse to employment protective norms. In concluding, we indicate ways towards a more coherent approach to the de-normalisation and progressive regulation of this large and growing set of casual work arrangements.