Description of the project

The framework

Over the last decades, changes in the labour market and in the demographic trends have put social protection systems across Europe under pressure.

As the world of work evolves, with growing numbers of people in self-employment, in jobs not governed by standard contracts, or going through transitions between and combinations of dependent and self-employed work, an increasingly large part of the workforce risks to be left without sufficient access to social protection. 

Many national social protection systems are not appropriately equipped to face the challenges generated by the proliferations of atypical and non-standard forms of work and employment. The risk is high to perpetuate and increase inequalities in both formal and effective access to pension rights.
Moreover, the increased complexity of national pension systems (articulated in different pillars and schemes) can add further problems to the effectiveness and adequacy of pensions for a huge rate of the European population. The current reality would determine the necessity for growing groups of the workforce to take recourse to tax-funded safety nets of last resort in case of social risk, while the number of people contributing to social protection seems to be proportionately smaller.

In this scenario, the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) proposes an integrated and interrelated approach to social protection rights linked to the substantial fulfilment of equal opportunities, quality jobs, fair working conditions. In particular, the Council Recommendation on Access to social protection for workers and the self-employed (the Recommendation) aims at supporting all self-employed and non-standard workers who, due to their contract type or labour market status, are not sufficiently protected.

However, achieving equal, effective and adequate access to social protection can only be addressed also in the framework of the European Economic Governance (EEG). The EPSR highlights the challenge to rebalance the social and the economic priorities in the EEG framework. The Recommendation, with its innovative features, can be the right tool to achieve this rebalancing.


The ETUC SociAll project will:

- Provide trade unions with knowledge-based and strategic tools to contribute with original and relevant inputs to the national action plans implementing the Recommendation.

- Support knowledge and expertise of trade unions and increase their capacity to be influential in policy making including in the framework of the European Economic Governance.

- Conduct a research action resulting in trade unions’ proposals, in the form of policy recommendations addressed to the Member States and to EU institutions and of guidelines addressed to social partners both at national and European level.


The ETUC SociAll project will detect paths for the implementation of EPSR’s objectives and upward convergence of national systems in a European while taking into account the different national backgrounds. It will explore the paths that trade unions consider suitable to achieve the Recommendation’s objectives to make social protection systems highly inclusive, fair, solidarity-based, adequate, effective and sustainable.


  • Presentation of the ETUC SociAll Project (EN)
  • Resolution on ETUC Action on Access to Social Protection – 2019 (ENFR)
  • Position on Proposal for a Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the Self-employed – 2018 (ENFR)
  • Position on first-stage consultation on possible action addressing the challenges to access to social protection – 2017 (ENFR)
  • Position on second-stage consultation on possible action addressing the challenges to access to social protection – 2017 (ENFR)


ETUC SociAll Social Protection For All

This project is co-funded

by the European Union