Magazine article European Social Policy

Infringement Procedures : Commission Acts on Equality, Health and Safety of Workers

Magazine article European Social Policy

Infringement Procedures : Commission Acts on Equality, Health and Safety of Workers

Article excerpt

The European Commission initiated legal actions against Greece, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Italy and the UK in the field of social policy, on 28 January.

Greece has received a letter of formal notice' on its failure to take concrete measures following an EU Court of Justice ruling last year on the pensionable age for civil servants (Case 559/07). The court found that current Greek provisions, which include differences in the pensionable age for male and female civil servants, violate the principle of equal pay and that is why the Commission initiated infringement proceedings. A letter of formal notice is the first of three steps in an infringement procedure.

Furthermore, Germany is taken to the ECJ, the last step of an infringement procedure, because of provisions which prevent disabled, blind and deaf people from accessing their benefits if they work in Germany but live elsewhere. Legislation in all German regions imposes a residence or habitual stay' clause to these benefits, which puts migrants and cross-border workers and their families at a disadvantage. According to EU provisions, this requirement discriminates against frontier and migrant workers who pay social security contributions in Germany but are unable to enjoy the same benefits as nationals.

The executive has sent Sweden a reasoned opinion', the second step in an infringement procedure, for failing to provide for proper controls on the health and safety of workers (Framework Directive 89/391/EEC) when an employer changes company status. …

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