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Labour Law Reforms in Eastern and Western Europe


Edited By Tomas Davulis

Recent years in Europe have been marked by efforts to introduce changes in labour law in order to boost employment, reduce labour costs and increase flexibility of national labour markets. The increased international competition has led to major labour law reforms in some European countries but the majority of national developments still indicate a rather limited reformist approach. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary efforts were initiated to balance the wage-setting mechanisms and to soften the dismissal law protection to create room for flexibility, to increase employment by promoting atypical forms of employment, to accommodate legal regulations to technological advances and the new types of economy. Accompanying social security measures intended to improve the efficiency of active labour market policies.

The current selection of academic contributions intends to provide an overview of recent developments in the legal regulation of labour markets in Eastern and Western European countries. The authors’ contributions could not cover all the aspects of the current state of recent reformist efforts on the labour markets. However, by picturing separate developments in different European countries, it intends to assist in identifying regional similarities. Furthermore, it provides opportunities for exchange of ideas, experiences and practices for shaping labour law both at European and national level.

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Introduction (Tomas Davulis)


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Labour Law Reforms in Eastern and Western Europe


Unlike other branches of law, labour law lacks the legacy of centuries-long tradition. Even if the main objectives of the labour law do not alter, changes in detailed legal regulation and case law within a short span of time may be impressive. Most fundamental transformations are triggered by structural changes in the economy, but they could also emanate from pressure to reshape the balance between capital and labour in response to temporary economic difficulties or in reaction to ongoing changes in technological and organizational patterns of work.

The dynamism of legal regulation of employment is worthy of the close attention of academics, social partners and those involved in drafting and applying social legislation. The increased competition of national labour markets which goes along with fierce international economic emulation intensifies the debate about trends and developments. Consequently, it may result in either significant or in less ambitious changes of the domestic legislative framework of employment and industrial relations.

This selection of articles traces recent developments in labour law and in related areas like social security in European countries. Some of the developments may truly be labelled as ‘reforms’ but the majority are examples of a gradual evolution, which is necessary in order to overcome errors or shortcomings or to provide the necessary adaptation to technological, social or economical reality.

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