14 Jun
robotisation, new forms of work European Union

New forms of work (digitalisation, robotisation…) : European Council conclusions

The European Council yesterday, June 13, adopted conclusions on the changing world of work and the emergence of new forms of work.

The conclusions focus on occupational health and safety in relation to digitalisation, robotisation, use of artificial intelligence and the development of the digital platform economy.

The conclusions also recognise that the emerging new forms of work contribute to social inclusion, but also present serious challenges for traditional employment arrangements, as well as for ensuring adequate levels of workers’ protection.

Main conclusions

  • New forms of work are growing increasingly diverse, reflected in new contractual arrangements and atypical forms of employment.
  • These new arrangements may offer benefits for those involved and for society at large. They may facilitate access to the labour market for a number of groups, among them people who have traditionally been furthest away from the labour market, and thus contribute to social inclusion.
  • They may also offer increased flexibility and opportunities to improve work-life balance.
  • However, particular attention should be paid to the impact of these changes in the organisation of work on workers’ overall well-being, including the quality of their work as well as their physical and mental health.
  • New forms of work should not reduce or detract from the employer’s responsibility to ensure the occupational safety and health of workers in every aspect related to that work.
  • New forms of work and changing work patterns may give rise to new risks, such as the blurring of boundaries between professional and personal life, potential isolation from work community and de-socialisation, stress and cognitive workload, risks linked to working and interacting with robots, longer professional lives and active ageing. These risks should be properly assessed.
  • It is necessary to reforce the importance of identifying means of ensuring the safety and health of workers performing new forms of work in places where the requisite conditions for the protection of workers could be outside the employer’s control.
By: Estela Martín

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