Issue date
26 Apr 2017

26 April 2017

- EU proposes new rights to paid parental leave, and new protections for gig economy and zero-hours contract workers
- Election manifestos should commit to a Brexit deal that guarantees UK workers’ rights will not fall behind the rest of Europe, says TUC

EU proposals published today (Wednesday) to strengthen employment rights are a reminder that a bad Brexit deal will mean a worse deal at work for Brits compared to EU workers, says the TUC.

The proposals include more help for working parents and carers, and a directive to give all workers – including those with zero-hours contracts – the right to a written statement of pay and conditions when starting a new job.

The Commission has also launched a consultation on new protections for people in atypical work, like the gig economy. And the announcements build on other EU proposals for new rules to stop employers exploiting migrants to drive down wages.

The TUC says that the next UK government must put workers’ rights at the heart of Brexit negotiations. British workers need a deal with the EU that would guarantee a level playing field on employment standards. This would protect UK workers from being undercut by unfair competition from the EU, or from being left behind when EU workers get improved workplace protections.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“These are welcome proposals to improve the lives of working people.

“The EU looks set to give zero-hours contract and gig economy workers new rights. Parents will get a right to paid parental leave. And bad bosses will be stopped from exploiting migrant workers to undercut local workers.

“The big question for the party leaders is whether they will make sure Britain’s workers benefit too.

“The next government must guarantee a level playing field after Brexit. When EU rights improve, UK rights must improve too. And it must be written into the Brexit deal. Otherwise hardworking Brits will miss out on new protections that EU workers get.”


Notes to Editors:
- A ‘European Pillar of Social Rights’ was proposed by President Juncker in 2015. One of its core aims to ensure fair working conditions. Today’s publication by the EU Commission sets out further details on the ideas the EU is considering. Details can be found here:
- The EU is also in the process of revising the Posted Workers Directive with the intent of making sure there is a level playing field for wages. This would stop employers transferring workers on lower wages from one country to another in order to undercut the local labour market. More information is here:
- Trade unions across Europe are welcoming the proposals as a step forward for working people, but are also encouraging the EU to be even more ambitious, and to strengthen the ‘social pillar’ plans for fair employment conditions. Information on the reaction to the proposals from the European Trade Union Confederation can be found here:
- All TUC press releases can be found at
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews