Skip to main content

The European Pillar of Social Rights in 20 principles

The 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are the beacon guiding us towards a strong social Europe that is fair, inclusive and full of opportunity.

Chapter I: Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

Icon of a graduation hat

1. Education, training and life-long learning

Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market.

Related Commission action: European Skills AgendaCouncil Recommendation for Vocational Education and TrainingPact for Skills, European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027), Individual Learning Accounts and Micro-Credentials Framework, Skills and talent package

Gender symbols

2. Gender equality

Equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men must be ensured and fostered in all areas, including regarding participation in the labour market, terms and conditions of employment and career progression.

Women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.

Related Commission action: European Gender Equality Strategy, Pay transparency

Person helping another climb stairs.

3. Equal opportunities

Regardless of gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, everyone has the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. Equal opportunities of under-represented groups shall be fostered.

Related Commission action: EU Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025EU Roma Strategic Framework on Equality, Inclusion and Participation, Council Recommendation on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation, Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion, LGBTIQ Equality Strategy

Person teaching other people.

4. Active support to employment

Everyone has the right to timely and tailor-made assistance to improve employment or self-employment prospects. This includes the right to receive support for job search, training and re-qualification. Everyone has the right to transfer social protection and training entitlements during professional transitions.

Young people have the right to continued education, apprenticeship, traineeship or a job offer of good standing within 4 months of becoming unemployed or leaving education.

People unemployed have the right to personalised, continuous and consistent support. The long-term unemployed have the right to an in-depth individual assessment at the latest at 18 months of unemployment.

Related Commission action: Youth Employment Support, Reinforced Youth Guarantee, Effective Active Support to Employment, Action Plan for the Social Economy, Evaluation of the Quality Framework for Traineeships

Chapter II: Fair working conditions

One person in a suit and another wearing a hard hat

5. Secure and adaptable employment

Regardless of the type and duration of the employment relationship, workers have the right to fair and equal treatment regarding working conditions, access to social protection and training. The transition towards open-ended forms of employment shall be fostered.

In accordance with legislation and collective agreements, the necessary flexibility for employers to adapt swiftly to changes in the economic context shall be ensured.

Innovative forms of work that ensure quality working conditions shall be fostered. Entrepreneurship and self-employment shall be encouraged. Occupational mobility shall be facilitated.

Employment relationships that lead to precarious working conditions shall be prevented, including by prohibiting abuse of atypical contracts. Any probation period should be of reasonable duration.

Related Commission action: Proposed directive on improving working conditions in platform work

Stacks of coins ordered in a growing line.

6. Wages

Workers have the right to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living.

Adequate minimum wages shall be ensured, in a way that provide for the satisfaction of the needs of the worker and his / her family in the light of national economic and social conditions, whilst safeguarding access to employment and incentives to seek work. In-work poverty shall be prevented.  

All wages shall be set in a transparent and predictable way according to national practices and respecting the autonomy of the social partners.

Related Commission action: Directive on adequate minimum wages

Shield and info sign.

7. Information about employment conditions and protection in case of dismissals

Workers have the right to be informed in writing at the start of employment about their rights and obligations resulting from the employment relationship, including on probation period. 

Prior to any dismissal, workers have the right to be informed of the reasons and be granted a reasonable period of notice. They have the right to access to effective and impartial dispute resolution and, in case of unjustified dismissal, a right to redress, including adequate compensation.

Hands shaking.

8. Social dialogue and involvement of workers

The social partners shall be consulted on the design and implementation of economic, employment and social policies according to national practices. They shall be encouraged to negotiate and conclude collective agreements in matters relevant to them, while respecting their autonomy and the right to collective action. Where appropriate, agreements concluded between the social partners shall be implemented at the level of the Union and its Member States.

Workers or their representatives have the right to be informed and consulted in good time on matters relevant to them, in particular on the transfer, restructuring and merger of undertakings and on collective redundancies.

Support for increased capacity of social partners to promote social dialogue shall be encouraged.

Related Commission action: Communication and Council Recommendation on strengthening social dialogue, Initiative on collective bargaining for the self-employed

Business person picking up child.

9. Work-life balance

Parents and people with caring responsibilities have the right to suitable leave, flexible working arrangements and access to care services. Women and men shall have equal access to special leaves of absence in order to fulfil their caring responsibilities and be encouraged to use them in a balanced way.

Related Commission action: Directive on work-life balance

Person wearing hard hat next to shield with check symbol.

10. Healthy, safe and well-adapted work environment and data protection

Workers have the right to a high level of protection of their health and safety at work.
Workers have the right to a working environment adapted to their professional needs and which enables them to prolong their participation in the labour market.
Workers have the right to have their personal data protected in the employment context.

Related Commission action: EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027, Legal proposals to reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous chemicals, including asbestos


Chapter III: Social protection and inclusion

Person holding baby.

11. Childcare and support to children

Children have the right to affordable early childhood education and care of good quality.

Children have the right to protection from poverty. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have the right to specific measures to enhance equal opportunities.

Related Commission action: Strategy on the Rights of the Child, European Child Guarantee, Revision of the Barcelona targets

Hands protecting workers.

12. Social protection

Regardless of the type and duration of their employment relationship, workers, and, under comparable conditions, the self-employed, have the right to adequate social protection.

Related Commission action: Council recommendation on access to social protection, Communication on Decent Work Worldwide, Implementation report of the Working Time Directive, Guidance on ex-ante distributional impact assessments 

Person protecting another with an umbrella.

13. Unemployment benefits

The unemployed have the right to adequate activation support from public employment services to (re)integrate in the labour market and adequate unemployment benefits of reasonable duration, in line with their contributions and national eligibility rules. Such benefits shall not constitute a disincentive for a quick return to employment.

Related Commission action: Temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) 

Hand holding stacks of coins.

14. Minimum income

Everyone lacking sufficient resources has the right to adequate minimum income benefits ensuring a life in dignity at all stages of life, and effective access to enabling goods and services. For those who can work, minimum income benefits should be combined with incentives to (re)integrate into the labour market.

Related Commission action: Council Recommendation on minimum income

Glasses and sheet of paper.

15. Old age income and pensions

Workers and the self-employed in retirement have the right to a pension commensurate to their contributions and ensuring an adequate income. Women and men shall have equal opportunities to acquire pension rights.

Everyone in old age has the right to resources that ensure living in dignity.

Related Commission action: Green Paper on Ageing

First aid kit.

16. Health care

Everyone has the right to timely access to affordable, preventive and curative health care of good quality.

Related Commission action: Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

Person on wheelchair typing on computer.

17. Inclusion of people with disabilities

People with disabilities have the right to income support that ensures living in dignity, services that enable them to participate in the labour market and in society, and a work environment adapted to their needs.

Related Commission action: Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030

Elderly person using a walker.

18. Long-term care

Everyone has the right to affordable long-term care services of good quality, in particular home-care and community-based services.

Related Commission action: European Care Strategy

Person sleeping inside home.

19. Housing and assistance for the homeless

a. Access to social housing or housing assistance of good quality shall be provided for those in need.

b. Vulnerable people have the right to appropriate assistance and protection against forced eviction.

c. Adequate shelter and services shall be provided to the homeless in order to promote their social inclusion.

Related Commission action: European Platform on Combating Homelessness

Hand holding lamp.

20. Access to essential services

Everyone has the right to access essential services of good quality, including water, sanitation, energy, transport, financial services and digital communications. Support for access to such services shall be available for those in need.



16 NOVEMBER 2017
European Pillar of Social Rights – booklet
(431.42 KB - PDF)