|A few facts on the European Social Charter|
|Rights guaranteed by the ESC|
|The European Committee of Social Rights|
|Collective Complaint Procedure|
|The impact of implementing the Charter in member States|
A treaty is a solemn
international agreement that states promise to honour when they ratify
The European Social Charter (referred to below as “the Charter”) sets
out rights and freedoms and establishes a supervisory mechanism
guaranteeing their respect by the States Parties.
Following its revision, the 1996 revised European Social Charter, which came into force in 1999, is gradually replacing the initial 1961 treaty.
|Legal and social protection|
|Free movement of persons|
access to adequate and affordable housing ;
reduction of homelessness ; housing policy targeted
at all disadvantaged categories
procedures to limit forced eviction ;
equal access for non-nationals to social housing
and housing benefits ;
housing construction and housing benefits related
to family needs.
accessible, effective health care facilities for the
policy for preventing illness with, in particular,
the guarantee of a healthy environment;
elimination of occupational hazards so as to ensure
that health and safety at work are provided for by law
and guaranteed in practice;
protection of maternity;
free primary and secondary education;
free and effective vocational guidance services;
access to initial training (general and vocational
secondary education), university and non-university
higher education, vocational training, including
special measures for foreign residents;
integration of children
with disabilities into
access to education and vocational training
for persons with disabilities.
prohibition of forced labour;
prohibition of the employment of children under
the age of 15;
special working conditions between 15 and 18 years of age;
the right to earn one’s living in an occupation freely entered upon;
an economic and social policy designed to ensure full employment;
fair working conditions as regards pay and working hours;
protection from sexual and psychological harassment;
freedom to form trade unions and employers’ organisations
to defend economic and social interests; individual freedom to decide
whether or not to join them;
promotion of joint consultation, collective bargaining,
and voluntary arbitration;
protection in case of dismissal;
the right to strike;
access to work for persons with disabilities.
legal status of the child ;
treatment of young offenders;
protection from ill-treatment and abuse ;
prohibition of any form of exploitation (sexual or other) ;
legal protection of the family (equality of spouses
within the couple and towards children, protection of children
in case the family breaks up);
the right to social security, social welfare and social services;
the right to be protected against poverty and social
special measures catering for the elderly.
the right to family reunion;
the right of nationals to leave the country;
procedural safeguards in the event of expulsion;
simplification of immigration formalities..
the right of women and men to equal treatment and equal
opportunities in employment;
a guarantee to all nationals and foreigners legally resident
and/or working that all the rights set out in the Charter apply
regardless of race, sex, age, colour, language, religion, opinions,
national origin, social background, state of health or association
with a national minority.
prohibition of discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities ;
right of persons with disabilities to social integration and
participation in the life of the community.
The European Committee of Social Rights (referred to below as “the Committee”)
ascertains whether countries have honoured the undertakings set out in the
Every year the States Parties submit a report indicating how they
implement the Charter in law and in practice. Each report concerns some
of the accepted provisions of the Charter.
Under a protocol opened for signature in 1995, which came into force in 1998, complaints of violations of the Charter may be lodged with the European Committee of Social Rights.
– In the case of all states that have accepted the procedure: :
– In the case of states which have also agreed to this:
The complaint file must contain the following information:
The complaint must be drafted in English or French in the case of organisations in categories 1 and 2 above. In the case of the others (categories 3 and 4), it may be drafted in the official language, or one of the official languages, of the state concerned.
The Committee examines the complaint and, if the formal requirements have been met, declares it admissible.
Once the complaint has been declared admissible, a written procedure is set in motion, with an exchange of memorials between the parties. The Committee may decide to hold a public hearing.
The Committee then takes a decision on the merits of the complaint, which it forwards to the parties concerned and the Committee of Ministers in a report, which is made public within four months of its being forwarded.