Consultations on Micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability and on Individual Learning Account

HOSPEEM responded to the European Commission public consultations on Micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability and on Individual Learning Accounts. HOSPEEM stressed the need for a social partners’ led approach that respect the specificity of national industrial relations systems when defining training schemes and providing new opportunities for employment.

Read HOSPEEM response on Micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability

Read HOSPEEM response on Individual Learning Accounts

HOSPEEM and SGI Europe respond to the public consultation on European Commission Green Paper on Ageing

HOSPEEM and SGI Europe welcome the EC Green Paper on Ageing. This paper raises relevant questions for Europe’s ageing society.

Our key aspects are that European citizens will receive the best possible healthcare and long-term care and can rely on adequate and sustainable pensions in the decades to come to live in dignity throughout their retirement. (This target is also enshrined in principle 15 of the European Pillar of Social Rights.) Therefore, we concentrated on the questions related to these goals/targets in our response to the public consultation on European Commission Green Paper on Ageing..

Read the full response here

HOSPEEM replies to the European Commission public consultation on the EU Strategic Framework for Occupational Safety and Health (2021 – 2027)

In the joint response to the public consultation, HOSPEEM and SGI Europe stressed that the Framework needs to grasp opportunities and anticipate challenges for working life in constant development, for the common good of employees, employers, citizens, and the operations, for long-term sustainable workplaces and society. It is to consider the role of digitalisation: While it could enhance productivity and create safer work processes’, its associated risks need to be assessed. Risks range from mental health due to adaptation to new working methods and increased work-related diseases due to a shift to sedentary work.

Download the HOSPEEM-SGI Response to the European Commission public consultation on the EU Strategic Framework for Occupational Safety and Health 2021 – 2027 (.Pdf)

HOSPEEM-EPSU response to road map consultation on Cross-border healthcare – evaluation of patients’ rights (Directive 2011/24) 

HOSPEEM and EPSU were active in the process leading to the establishment of the Directive 2011/24, which regulates parts of the fundamental cornerstones of Member States’ health systems, such as the capacity to plan for the current as well as future needs within their respective systems. Reiterating the main messages from our joint letter from 15 December 2010, we would like to take the opportunity to underline that the Directive should aim to contribute to the quality and accessibility of patients’ care. Equal access to health care is a fundamental human right, which must be facilitated – to the extent possible – in the proximity of patients’ living surroundings or directly at the patient’s home, including through the use of digital solutions.

 It is paramount to support Member States to strengthen their national health systems, address the existing challenges and identify opportunities to create resilient health systems to improve patients’ cross-border healthcare access: This includes investment in health workforce and healthcare infrastructure comprising investment in working conditions to address health workforce shortages and medical deserts, access to continued professional development and life-long learning, coherent occupational safety and health prevention practices and guidelines as well as to reinforce equality in the access to healthcare between Member States and within them, taking into account the concept of integrated care. 

Download the HOSPEEM-EPSU response to road map consultation on Cross-border healthcare – evaluation of patients’ rights (Directive 2011/24) 

Input for new initiatives at EU, national, regional or local level in the frame of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights

Brussels, 13 November 2020

The European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the envisioned Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular on Principle 8, which encourages the EU Member States to support the increased capacity of social partners to promote social dialogue.

Since HOSPEEM’s recognition as European sectoral social partner in 2006, we have been active in capacity building of national employers’ organisation in forms of EU-funded projects, focusing among others on East Central and Southern Europe, including accession countries [1],[2],[3] and by participating in the Eurofound research study on capacity building for effective social dialogue in the European Union. Besides HOSPEEM’s recruitment efforts, we met with former European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen’s cabinet staff, raising awareness and inquiring support from the European institutions. Likewise, we have sent meeting requests to various Permanent Representations to the EU to discuss this very topic.

As the recently published Eurofound representativeness study for the human health sector revealed, there are nine EU Member States[4] where employer organisations exist and active in collective bargaining but are not affiliated to HOSPEEM. As a direct consequence, those organisations and countries do not have the opportunity to represent their national interest and contribute to the agenda-setting and decision-making in the frame of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees. Additionally, their voices are not being heard when, for example, European sectoral social partners close framework agreements which can be transposed in binding legislation across the EU (cf. Council Directive 2010/32/EU). The study also noted that there are seven EU Member States[5] where “there is no sectoral employer organisation”.

Whereas HOSPEEM sees Eurofound’s findings as an excellent opportunity to increase its membership and hence its representation at European level, we also believe that European institutions and Members States miss the opportunity to draw on the full potential of EU legislation, such as TFEU Art. 154, further strengthening the delivery of a strong social Europe for just transitions.

We are aware that the existence of autonomous employer organisations, with the mandate to negotiate collective bargaining at the national level, is still limited in various EU Member States among others due to historical and organisational national structures. We, therefore, welcome the European Commission Communication on the 2020 European Semester: Country-specific recommendations highlighting that “a well-functioning social dialogue is key to ensure that measures taken are successful, inclusive and sustainable” and that “in some Member States there is clearly room for a better functioning social dialogue”.

To echo the quadripartite statement on the Relaunch of Social Dialogue[6], HOSPEEM would like to stress that trust, formal and timely consultation with the social partners as well as support through robust EU-funding is a pre-requisite for a well-functioning social dialogue. Furthermore, the independence of social dialogue and social partners from the national government and political influence is essential, to fully representing the interest of workers and employers alike.

We, therefore, call upon the European Commission, in collaboration with EU Member States and consultation with European social partners to develop coherent structures and implement robust mechanisms as well as initiatives for:

  • the formation of employer organisations on a national level; and
  • encourage already established employer organisations to become actively involved in European sectoral social dialogue structures while respecting national specificities and autonomy.
[1] HOSPEEM (2008) HOSPEEM-EPSU Project on Strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector in the new Member States and candidate countries https://hospeem.org/activities/projects/strengthening-social-dialogue-in-the-hospital-sector-in-the-new-member-states-and-candidate-countries/
[2] HOSPEEM (2011) HOSPEEM-EPSU Project on Strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector in the Baltic countries https://hospeem.org/activities/projects/strengthening-social-dialogue-in-the-hospital-sector-in-the-baltic-countries/
[3] HOSPEEM (2019) HOSPEEM-EPSU Project on Strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector https://hospeem.org/activities/hospeem-epsu-project-2019-2020-on-strengthening-social-dialogue-in-the-hospital-sector-in-the-east-south-and-central-europe/
[4] Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, and Portugal (The Bulgarian employers’ organisation left HOSPEEM in beginning of 2020 and the Belgian employers’ organisation joined HOSPEEM mid-2020.)
[5] Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Malta, and Poland
[6] co-signed by the European Commission, the European Council, and the cross-sectoral social partners in June 2016

Download the HOSPEEM response to the EPSRS (Pdf)

WHO consultation on human resources in High Income Countries

4-5 September 2013, Oslo

The cooperation between HOSPEEM and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on recruitment and retention issues is dynamically developing. Tjitte Alkema, Secretary General of HOSPEEM a second time this year has attended as a speaker a WHO meeting after the Conference on mobility and recruitment of healthcare workers in May in Amsterdam.

The meeting took place in Oslo in September 2013 and was organised in the form of a consultation. It concerned the challenges that High Income Countries (HIC) are facing with regard to the issue of human resources in the healthcare sector. The aim of the consultation was to gather the HIC’s contributions for the upcoming 3rd WHO Global Forum on Human Resources for Health.

In his speech Mr Alkema highlighted the importance of the HOSPEEM-EPSU Code of Conduct on Ethical Cross-Border Recruitment and Retention in the Hospital Sector signed in 2008, two years ahead of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel and the key social partners’ role in that successful initiative. As another example of effective cooperation on healthcare workforce issues between all crucial stakeholders in the sector, including employers’ associations and the government, Mr Alkema indicated current forecasting of the resources demand in the Netherlands. ʽʽIt often seems that WHO and national governments do not easily connect with social partners. For the effective approach to the dilemmas in the field of cross-border ethical recruitment calls for close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders.’’ – said Mr Alkema.

Finally, Mr Alkema stated that ethical cross-border recruitment and retention in the sector requires a broader perspective. This includes providing employees with good working conditions and proper wages that due to austerity programms are at the moment under pressure by government interventions. He also emphasised that delivery of health services in HIC becomes not only a matter of respecting basic human rights. Nowadays we can observe a trend of “consuming” health services which has taken the form of delivering “scarce luxury goods”. In solving the problem of sufficient health care professionals we should consider how far we want to go in fulfilling all the needs in health care demand that do not necessarily align with good quality of life.

Read more about the consultation

HOSPEEM replies to the EC public consultation on occupational health & safety

HOSPEEM has replied to the public consultation launched by the European Commission further to the results of the evaluation of the European Strategy on Safety and Health at Work 2007-2012 (http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=699&consultId=13&furtherConsult=yes).

The aim of the consultation is to identify current and future challenges in the occupational safety and health area and instruments to tackle these challenges.

In its reply HOSPEEM supported the approach to define common general objectives for the future health and safety policies at European level. However, the organisation stated that actions in this field have to be targeted on each national situation, legislation, organisation and practice. HOSPEEM emphasised also the importance of social partners’ involvement in the future health and safety-related initiatives.

HOSPEEM_reply_EC_public consultation_on_OSH

EPSU-HOSPEEM Response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on Reviewing the Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications 2005/36/EC

HOSPEEM, the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association, and EPSU, the European Public Service Union, have decided to submit a joint response to the Green Paper.
It has to be read as complementary to the response sent by EPSU on 20 September and to replies of individual EPSU or HOSPEEM members.
This joint reply reflects the issues, concerns and proposals on which full or broad consensus between the European social partners for the hospital and health care sector could be reached.

FULL TEXT: Professional Qualification Directive joint EPSU HOSPEEM response to the green paper

HOSPEEM – EPSU contribution to public consultation on the Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2005/36/EC)

HOSPEEM, the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association, and EPSU, the European Public Service Union, have decided to submit a joint response to this consultation. It has to be read as complementary to the response sent by EPSU on the 15th of March 2011 and to replies of individual EPSU or HOSPEEM members.

This joint reply reflects the issues, concerns and proposals on which full or broad consensus between the European social partners for the hospital and health care sector could be reached.

FULL TEXT: EPSU-HOSPEEM joint reply to consultation on DRPQ

HOSPEEM response to the second-phase consultation “Reviewing the Working Time Directive” under Article 154 of the TFUE

FULL TEXT: HOSPEEM response 2nd phase consultation working time directive

HOSPEEM welcomes the second stage consultation[1] published by the European Commission and the report on the implementation by Member States of Directive 2003/88/EC[2]. The two documents provide a deep and interesting analysis on the implementation of the Directive and on the response of each Member State in complying with the Directive. The Consultation paper has pointed out the main issues of relevance and HOSPEEM is pleased to read from the consultation that the concerns raised with the response to the first consultation in May 2010 have been addressed by the European Commission.

As highlighted in HOSPEEM’s response to the first phase consultation, the interpretation given by the European Court of Justice to cases SIMAP (C-303/98), Jaeger (C-151/02) and Dellas (C-14/04) has challenged the ability of health service employers to properly organise healthcare services in the EU 27, especially hospital services delivering 24/7 patient care, some highly specialised services and small and remote units.

HOSPEEM made clear in the previous response that more flexibility is needed in order to provide hospital managers with the necessary resources, in terms of staff, to organise health services efficiently. As underlined on several occasions[3], the current and the future shortages of health professionals is one of the main issues of concern for our sector and it needs to be addressed in order to ensure that European healthcare services will be able to deliver high quality healthcare to an increasingly ageing European population.

HOSPEEM as a European Social partner is committed to develop strategies to encourage young people to undertake jobs in the health sector, in particular by enhancing the attractiveness of the health care sector as a place to work. This work needs to be supported by a European legislation that allows flexible and modern working patterns.



[1] COM (2010) 801 final Communication from the Commission to the Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions Reviewing the Working Time Directive (Second-phase consultation of the social partners at European level under Article 154 TFEU)

[2] COM (2010) 802 final Report from the Commission to the Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions on implementation by Member States of Directive 2003/88/EC (‘The Working Time Directive’).

[3]Report on the open consultation on the Green Paper on the European Workforce for Health”, December 2009; “Council conclusions on investing in Europe’s health workforce of tomorrow: Scope for innovation and collaboration”, December 2010; “HOSPEEM and EPSU Framework of Action on Recruitment and Retention”, December 2010.