Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (Employment and social policy), Brussels

Atomium in Brussel
© Kevin Bergenhenegouwen
date December 8, 2022
city Brussels, Belgium
organisation Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) i

Main results

Platform work: Ministers discussed how to improve working conditions

EU ministers of employment discussed a presidency proposal for a common position of member states on a draft EU law to improve the working conditions of persons working through platforms. The proposed rules aim at facilitating the correct determination of the employment status of people doing platform work.

Core of the proposed directive is to ensure that people working through digital labour platforms are granted the legal employment status that corresponds to their actual working arrangements. It proposes a checklist to assess whether the platform is an “employer” or if a person is genuinely self-employed.

Despite negotiations that continued throughout the day and several attempts of the presidency to present a compromise there was no qualified majority in support of a general approach.

Better working conditions for food delivery workers, ride-hailing drivers and all those who work through a digital platform are a must. The platform economy is a booming sector and we need to make sure that people performing platform work have the employment position they deserve.

Marian Jurečka, deputy prime minister and minister of labour and social affairs

Member states reach common position to improve protection of workers from risks of asbestos

Ministers settled their position on a proposal to tighten EU legislation protecting workers from the risks of asbestos. The Council wants to lower current exposure levels and carry out asbestos fibre-counting on the basis of a more modern method. If agreed, the new rules would ensure that no worker is exposed to a concentration of more than 0.01 fibres of asbestos per cm³. This is a tenfold decrease compared to the value currently in force. Member states also decided to use a more modern and sensitive method for counting asbestos fibres, i.e. electron microscopy (EM).

Before becoming law, the Council and the European Parliament need to agree on a joint position on the proposed revision.

Stronger protection of workers from the risks of asbestos will save lives. EU member states must drastically limit workers' exposure to the danger of asbestos and I am glad they are ready to do so.

Marian Jurečka, deputy prime minister and minister of labour and social affairs

New recommendations: Long term care and childhood care and education

The Council adopted a recommendation on early childhood education and care. It recommends that:

  • at least 45% of children below the age of three participate in early childhood education and care (Specific targets apply to member states that have yet to reach the 2002 goals.)
  • at least 96% of children between the age of three and the starting age for compulsory primary education should participate in early childhood education and care

A second recommendation on affordable high-quality long-term care was also adopted today. It proposes actions to make care more accessible, affordable and of better quality.

Ministers finally held a policy debate about the European Care Strategy where they addressed in particular ways to improve the availability, quality, accessibility and affordability of care services in the current political and economic context.

The presidency presented a progress report about a proposed Equality Directive, a proposal to extend protection against discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation to areas outside employment. The presentation by the Commission of the European Semester autumn package, was followed by an exchange of views of ministers and a review of the Council recommendation on the integration of long-term unemployed into the labour market.

Ministers also approved two conclusions: on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the labour market and on gender equality in disrupted economies.

Member states finally reached a political agreement on a Council recommendation on adequate minimum income.

Other business

The presidency informed delegations on the state of play on the decision on the European Year of Skills 2023, on the conferences held during its term and on the Czech government’s meetings in Ukraine.

The Commission provided information on the upcoming directives on strengthening the role and independence of equality bodies and on the state of play on the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness.

The upcoming Swedish presidency finally presented its work programme.


Officiële agenda


Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) consists of the Ministers (or State Secretaries) of Employment, Social Affairs, Health and/or Consumer Affairs of the Member States of the European Union.

In the Council of the European Union, the ministers from the EU Member States take a joint decision on the policy to be implemented within the EU. The Council is supported by the Committee of Permanent Representatives, which prepares decisions and guards the implementation and adherence of the decisions monitored by the Council.


More about...