Principle 8

Social dialogue and involvement of workers

"The social partners shall be consulted on the design and implementation of economic, employment and social policies according to national practices; encouraged to negotiate and conclude collective agreements in matters and workers or their representatives have the right to be informed and consulted in good time on matters relevant to them."

- Principle 8 of the European Pillar of Social Rights

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Social dialogue and involvement in decisions

Social dialogue is the process whereby social partners such as trade unions and employer organisations negotiate, often in collaboration with the government, to influence the arrangement and development of work-related issues, labour market policies, social protection, taxation or other economic policies.

In public health and wellbeing policy, social dialogue is a crucial means to inclusive decision-making. It leads to health and social measures that better respond to current needs, enhanced trust and buy-in from those who are supposed to benefit, and ultimately better and more equal health and social outcomes. It also ensures the active involvement of (sub-)national health authorities, social partners and stakeholders.

Social dialogue further empowers individuals to fulfil professional aspirations, creating secure and safe work environments with fair pay and growth opportunities, in health and social care workforce. However, inequalities in meaningful participation of workers persist, affecting marginalised and underserved communities most.

What does the EPSR Action Plan say?

The EPSR Action Plan sets out several overarching goals for EU Member States in the field of social rights more generally:

  • Achieve an employment rate of 78.5%, with at least 60% of all adults participating in training each year, and 80% of population with (above) basic digital skills by 2030.

  • Ensure social partner consultation in shaping and implementing economic, employment and social policies, aligned with national practices.

  • Encourage social partners to explore innovative work arrangements and communicate widely about the benefits of social dialogue and any established collective agreements.

  • Enhance the capacity of workers and employers' organisations, including facilitating access to pertinent information and securing support from national governments.

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Where are we now?

The Social Scoreboard measures progress on the principles of the EPSR. Linked to Principle 8, the Scoreboard outlines that in the EU:

  • Employment rate of 20-64 years old stands at 74.6%, with 8.5% of the working population at risk of in-work poverty, with income inequality S80/S20 at 4.7 (2022)

  • 13.6% of the employees is less than a year on a job, 27.1% transitioning from temporary to permanent contracts, and disability employment gap is 21.4/100 (2022)

  • 55.5% of the 16-74 years old have basic or above basic overall digital skills (2023), 11.9% of EU population aged 25-64 participate in adult training and life-long learning (2022)

  • Healthy life years at age 65 are 9.9 years for women and 9.5 years for men (2021)

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What are public health actors doing?

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The following actions taken by public health actors at (sub)national level can support the implementation of EPSR principle 8.

Click on a country or our Erasmus+ funded BeWell project to learn about initiatives taking place.

EU tools that help implement Principle 8

There are EU policies and instruments that can help relevant actors in the field, including public health, to work together to achieve EPSR Principle 8.

More information about the EU institutions and programmes is available on EuroHealthNet's Health Inequalities Portal.

Available resources

For more supportive policy instruments on the topic, consult our other flashcards:

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Have your say

Would you like to share promising policies or practices carried out by your public health institute, which support the implementation of this EPSR principle?

Feel free to reach out to our EuroHealthNet colleague Vania Putatti.

About EuroHealthNet

Building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities.

EuroHealthNet is the Partnership of public health agencies and organisations building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities. Our focus is on preventing disease and promoting good health by looking within and beyond the health system.

Structuring our work over a policy, a practice, and a research platform, we focus on exploring and strengthening the links between these areas.

Our approach focuses on integrated concepts to health, reducing health inequality gaps and gradients, working on determinants across the life course, whilst contributing to the sustainability and wellbeing of people and the planet.

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EuroHealthNet is co-funded by the European Union. However, the information and views set out on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included on this website. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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