Labour Market Regulation in the Post-Crisis Era, University of Sheffield, May 5 2016

The economies of the European Union continue to be affected by the aftermath of the financial crisis that began in 2007/8. In many countries unemployment remains above its pre-crisis level and economic growth is weak. The search for a solution to sluggish economic performance and persistently high unemployment has led European governments to implement labour market reforms, many of which have involved a weakening of employment protection legislation (EPL) and looser constraints on the use of temporary employment contracts.

Casual forms of employment have proliferated. The coverage and enforcement of employment rights have also been affected. Austerity has resulted in some labour inspectorates experiencing budget cuts, encouraging a tighter focusing of enforcement activity and potential a narrowing of the effective coverage of regulation, yet the simultaneous growth of casualization, informality and more complex supply chains imply a need for the scope of regulation to be expanded. How might this be achieved?The aim of this seminar is to take stock of post-crisis developments in labour regulation, focusing on the UK and the wider EU. The seminar will discuss labour legislation, the relative legal status of regular, temporary and informal workers, and changes affecting enforcement mechanisms. The issues that the seminar will address include:

  • How have regulatory challenges changed since the crisis? What are the new challenges?
  • How have changes in employment legislation and its enforcement altered labour market outcomes and conditions of work? Has weaker EPL improved the position of labour market ‘outsiders’?
  • How might employment protections be better designed and enforced? Where are the regulatory pressure points and who should apply the pressure? What role should government agencies, employers, unions and NGOs play?
  • Can contractual flexibility and employment security be simultaneously achieved?
  • What are the drivers of post-crisis regulatory change?
  • What roles do ideas, interests, power and economics play in the development of regulation?

Confirmed speakers include: Jason Heyes and Thomas Hastings; Nicola Countouris; Michael Brookes and Phil James; Ian Clark and Trevor Colling; Robert Wapshott and Paul Latreille; Nikolaus Hammer; John Hurley (Eurofound)

Venue: Halifax Hall, The Endcliffe Village, Sheffield, www.halifaxhall.co.uk.

Attendence is open to all, although please register in advance. Email Sam Warner: SJW160@student.bham.ac.uk