The Future of Work - Konrad Ritter
Work and Labour markets are changing dramatically. Digitalization, globalization, and demographic changes are transforming their nature.
This offers challenges and opportunities for Europe, but and sure we all experience growing polarization and disruption of the status quo.
- On one side, involuntary unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, is at an alarming level in many regions and poses a dramatic threat to social cohesion in the EU and a majority of its States;
- On the other side, people desiring more flexibility for their work-life balance and for self-employment find ever growing opportunities to arrange their life accordingly.
We must understand and manage both. This is one of the key priorities for all European citizens and traditional parties are slow to grasp the urgency of this matter and to propose viable solutions.
To manage well this transition towards the ‘Future of Work’, the EU will have to build a solid Social Pillar as a foundation for a ‘Social European Union’.
Volt advocates an EU wide “Marshall Plan on Work and Life-Long Employability” as one program to put such Social Union into practice, with the following components:
Flexibility and Work-Life Balance
- Volt supports a Working Time Choice Act and wants to become the recognized political voice for the growing number of self-employed, start-ups, crowd and gig workers.
Life-Long Learning for Employability
- Volt supports a strategy to move ‘From an Unemployment to an Employment Insurance’ with a re-orientation towards a preventive scheme focused on maintaining employability.
- Volt advocates the immediate adoption of ‘Erasmus Pro’, to give every year 200,000 apprentices the opportunity for a two-year long apprenticeship in another EU country.
- Volt Europe supports Individual Long-Term Accounts that support life-long education, boosted by a periodic Bonus for life-long learning and re-training.
Social Protection and Basic Income
- Volt envisions universal social protection and an adequate income to become a core pillar of EU Policy making. This requires a long-term perspective combined with short-term actions.
- Volt advocates the strengthening of existing Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) schemes across the EU, initially with at least a modest goal of converging on a minimum poverty threshold of 40% of the equivalent national median income („extreme poverty“), with the schemes conditioned not only on a traditional job search, but also on a possible development of a new business or even an (unpaid) social activity (like mentorship, etc.).
- Volt endorses the idea of a Start Capital for every young person in the EU. Such start capital can be seen as a Social Inheritance, that enables a young person to develop its talents, chose a career or start up a business, independently of the social status and wealth of the parents.
- Volt supports large scale experiments with unconditional basic income (UBI), to provide a solid knowledge basis to decide on the merits of this novel approach to social protection.
The position of Volt, here summarized, is the result of the discussion and participation of all our members and experts. We recognize that the issue is very complex and in continuous evolution. We therefore welcome comments and ideas from all interested people!
Please review our draft policy paper and discover more details on our proposals on Flexibility and Work-life Balance, Life-long Learning for Employability, Social protection and Basic income, as well as the rest of our vision and program: here.
We wait for your comments and ideas!