Labour law and health and safety at work


The EEA Agreement highlights the importance of the objective to ensure economic and social progress and to promote conditions for full employment, improved standard of living and working conditions within the EEA.


Labour law

Article 68 of the EEA Agreement obliges the EEA States to introduce measures necessary to ensure the good functioning of the EEA Agreement in the field of labour law. Labour law is not a direct part of the fundamental freedoms of the EEA Agreement but accompanies the rules establishing them, in particular the free movement of persons.

Labour law directives incorporated into the EEA Agreement deal, amongst other things, with approximation of the laws of the EEA States in the following areas: 

  • collective redundancies,
  • safeguarding of employees' rights in the event of transfers of undertakings,
  • protection of employees in the event of insolvency of their employer,
  • the employer's obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to their employment relationship,
  • information and consultation of workers,
  • organization of working time,
  • protection of young people at work,
  • parental leave
  • rights of posted of workers in the framework of the provision of services

EEA law also gives effect to agreements entered into by the social partners on a European level, i.e. BUSINESS EUROPE, UNICE, CEEP and the EUTC. This includes for example the agreement on part-time work, the agreement on fixed-term work and the agreement on parental leave. 

Health and safety at work

Health and safety at work is also an important aspect of the social policy laid down in the EEA Agreement. Legislation in the field of health and safety at work concerns: 

  • Organization of the workplace
  • Chemical, physical and biological agents
  • Special occupational activities or groups at risk

 The Framework Directive 89/391/EEC lays down the basic EEA provisions on health and safety at work. The Directive outlines the responsibilities of employers and workers in that regard. The Directive is supplemented by other directives which address specific groups of workers, workplaces or substances. The areas covered by such directives include:

  • the work place environment
  • protection against physical biological and chemical agents and dangerous substances
  • protective and work equipment
  • protection of and facilities for pregnant and breastfeeding or nursing workers
  • mineral extracting industries
  • temporary construction sites
  • medical treatment on board ships, and
  • work on board fishing vessels  

Relevant links


Other EEA Institutions

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