Europeisk arbeidsmarkedsstatistikk om foretak
BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsforslaget)
Reasons for and objectives of the proposal
Labour market statistics on businesses (LMB) are official statistics that describe the functioning of businesses in relation to labour markets. The areas covered by LMB mostly relate to the level, composition and evolution of labour costs, the distribution and structure of earnings (including the gender pay gap), and job vacancy statistics.
Timely, reliable, and comparable European labour market statistics on businesses are needed for the EU to fulfil the tasks assigned to it under Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). European labour market statistics on businesses are required for the design, implementation and evaluation of EU policies, in particular the coordination of economic and employment policies (Article 2(3)), monetary policy (Article 3(1c)), social policy (Article 4(2b)), and economic, social and territorial cohesion (Article 4(2c)), as well as equal pay for male and female workers (Article 157(1)).
LMB on the level and structure of labour costs have been collected since 1959 1 , with a periodicity of 2 to 4 years based on specific legislation for each data collection, and covered different economic sectors (industry, wholesale and retail distribution, road transport, banking and insurance, services). Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 introduced systematic collections of data on the level and composition of labour costs (labour cost survey) for 2000 and at 4-yearly intervals after that. The same act established the statistics on the structure and distribution of earnings (structure of earnings survey) for 2002 and for a representative month in that year, and at 4-yearly intervals after that. Before Regulation (EC) No 450/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 February 2003 on the labour cost index was adopted, the data on the evolution of labour costs had been collected on a voluntary basis since 1996. Similarly, Regulation (EC) No 453/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council established job vacancy statistics as a regulated data collection. Earlier on, they used to be collected on a voluntary basis.
The evaluation conducted by the Commission has shown that the current legal framework of the three acts mentioned above has significantly improved labour market statistics on businesses overall. Those statistics were deemed coherent, efficient, broadly comparable over time and across EU countries, and reliable. They are widely used by organisations and policymakers at all levels.
However, some limitations of the statistics that were recognised already at the time of adoption of the legal acts (missing parts of the economy) became more salient as EU policies developed, and their monitoring required more precise indicators. For instance, LMB are used for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals 2 , the European employment strategy, the European Pillar of Social Rights 3 and the European Semester. In addition, the recent directive on adequate minimum wages 4 , a directive on pay transparency 5 and the Council recommendation on the establishment of national productivity boards 6 have highlighted the need for unbiased and comprehensive statistics in the field of earnings and labour costs.
The information collected in several LMB data sets is biased due to the incomplete coverage of the public sector (or parts of it) and micro firms. For several Member States, businesses with one to nine employees are not covered in the structure of earnings survey or in the labour cost survey. This creates biases in key statistics such as the average and median earnings, which are used to derive the gender pay gap or to assess the adequacy of minimum wages. Moreover, the lack of a legal obligation to provide information on the gender pay gap became more problematic as the current data collection is voluntary and does not cover all EU countries or all the required variables. This creates a risk for monitoring gender equality and fair working conditions.
Therefore, the data currently provided to Eurostat cannot be used to their full potential: EU aggregates cannot be calculated for the whole economy and cross-country comparisons will continue to be hampered until all EU countries fully extend the LMB coverage.
The coverage of the whole economy will improve the accuracy of some statistics used as principal European economic indicators (labour cost index, job vacancy rate) or for the Sustainable Development Goals and European Pillar of Social Rights (gender pay gap, median earnings used to assess wage adequacy). Moreover, the collection of annual gender pay gap data should be regulated to ensure future data transmissions and improve its quality. Lastly, the timeliness of some LMB datasets should improve (e.g. the labour cost index) and some existing information gaps be filled (e.g. number of hours worked).
There are also opportunities for simplification with greater use of administrative data and innovative sources (such as web scraping) and better integration among LMB once the legal framework has been unified.