Updated HELP online course on Labour Rights, with new modules on the European Social Charter and on Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Labour Exploitation

Strasbourg, France 15 September 2021
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Updated HELP online course on Labour Rights, with new modules on the European Social Charter and on Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Labour Exploitation

An updated version of the Council of Europe (CoE) HELP course on Labour Rights is now available on the HELP e-learning platform.

In times of economic recession and emergency situations, such as posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of full employment should go hand in hand with the protection of labour rights. Protecting labour rights benefits workers and their dependents and have a positive impact in their daily lives. It also benefits employers and society as it provides legal certainty in the workplace, protects the workforce and promotes sustainable growth. The benefits in terms of social cohesion and stability should not be underestimated either.

The HELP course on “Labour Rights” covers in an interactive way the key concepts, the European system of protection of labour rights (stemming from the Council of Europe and the EU), the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as well as decisions of the European Committee of Social Rights (the ECSR). The latter is an independent body of a quasi-judicial nature that oversees the situation in the contracting states vis-à-vis the European Social Charter (ESC) and develops case law

This course deals both with individual and collective labour rights, primarily on the basis of the ESC and the relevant articles of the ECHR. The course also makes comparisons and synergies with the EU Charter and presents the relevant EU labour law. It also considers the key ILO conventions.

The updated course consists of a general introductory module (containing a detailed chapter on the European Social Charter and the work of the European Committee of Social Rights), as well as 8 specific modules, among which a newly developed one on trafficking in human beings for the purposes of labour exploitation. The latter is also included in the HELP course on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings.


  • The evolution of labour rights
  • Labour rights under the European systems of protection
  • Introduction to the European Social Charter

Right to Work and Employment Relationship

  • Right to work
  • Right to just conditions of work
  • Right to privacy at workplace

Working time and Rest Periods

  • Legal framework
  • Working time and rest periods
  • Rest periods
  • Working time, rest periods and pay

Fair Remuneration and Protection of Wages

  • Decent standard of living
  • Deductions from wages
  • Safeguards in case of insolvency

Termination of employment

  • Procedural obligations to provide information
  • Grounds of termination of employment
  • Consequences of illegal dismissal

Equality and Non-discrimination

  • General aspects related to anti-discrimination
  • Fighting discrimination in employment
  • Protection of rights

Collective Labour Rights

  • Right to information and consultation
  • Freedom of Association
  • Negotiations and conclusion of collective agreements
  • Labour disputes and collective action

Occupational Safety and Health

•   National Policy and regulatory framework

•   Occupational accidents/diseases and procedural safeguards for victims

•   Occupational health services

Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Labour Exploitation

•   Definition and related concepts

•   Key actors

•   Identification of victims

•   Victims’ rights and assistance

•   Investigation, prosecution and trials

•   Corporate liability

•   Access to remedies and compensation for victims

The course was initially developed under the “HELP in 28” Project. It was updated in 2021 under the EU-CoE “HELP in the EU II” project to contain the most recent developments. The update process was coordinated by the HELP Secretariat and involved several representatives of relevant CoE services: Secretariat of the European Social Charter, Secretariat of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as from the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights.

The course is freely available in self-learning format on the CoE HELP e-learning platform. The overall length of the online course is approximately thirteen hours and those who complete it online can obtain an electronic ‘Statement of accomplishment’.

The updated version of the course will also be translated into several languages and launched in tutored format in collaboration with interested HELP national partners (National Training Institutions and Bar Associations).

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