Reference : EU Law, In-Work Poverty, and Vulnerable Workers
Scientific journals : Article
Law, criminology & political science : European & international law
EU Law, In-Work Poverty, and Vulnerable Workers
Ratti, Luca mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Department of Law (DL) >]
Garcia Munoz Alhambra, Manuel Antonio mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Department of Law (DL) >]
European Law Open
[en] The focus of the present contribution is the role of European Union (EU) law in shaping the working
conditions of four groups of vulnerable workers. It assesses to what extent the impact of EU law favours,
on these particular groups, an increased risk of In-Work Poverty (IWP) and explores whether the recent
attention to IWP at EU level and the latest initiatives adopted may change the picture in the near future.
The purpose is, therefore, to contribute to the debate on the role of EU law and policy in structuring vulnerability
from the perspective of IWP. What is commonly known as EU labour law is a fragmentary legal
corpus that has grown in a rather patchwork fashion as part of a social dimension of the European project
that was, broadly speaking, functional to the logic of market integration. This originates in the early division
of competences between the EU and the Member States in the Treaty of Rome, which left labour law
and social protection outside the EU sphere of action. It partly explains why the protection of workers,
particularly those that do not engage in cross-border situations, does not seem to be the EU’s primary
goal, or at least it is not formulated as contrary to other potentially clashing rationales such as market
integration, flexibility, enhanced competitiveness and so on. The prevention of IWP was not, in any case,
one of the concerns of the original European project. Yet, EU law has produced several pieces of legislation
that directly or indirectly contribute to shaping the working conditions of European workers, including
those more exposed to IWP. The paper assesses the relevant EU legal framework and discusses its impact
on the working conditions of those more at risk of IWP. It concludes by estimating the potential of a series
of recent initiatives to enhance the protection of the most vulnerable workers, thus making a positive
Working, Yet Poor (Horizon 2020)

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