A Green Paper is in the process of being drafted by Commission DG Employment & Social Affairs.

The Green Paper will in part draw on information from the General Report on the Evolution of Labour Law, and of concern is the way it treats working relationships as employment and certain types of contracts as non-standard or atypical.

The so called non-standard contracts are relating to agency workers, the self-employed and the “economically dependent” (a grey area between employment and self-employment.  Typically such a person may be self-employed but have one client – so economically dependent on that one client).

The green paper highlights that these forms of contract provide much needed flexibility in view of the changing needs of businesses and the economy in general, but it also suggests they have a detrimental effect on some workers as they may be vulnerable in terms of employment rights.

Freelancers and the self-employed should be concerned about this, as this could signify a head towards restrictions on the degree of flexibility that they currently depend on.

A follow up is due the end of March 2007 – we’ll be watching progress closely.