chapter  6
14 Pages

Member States, the European Union, and the Workplace

In the European Union (EU) framework, social policy has had a narrower meaning, referring to "actions to improve working conditions and living standards for workers". In general, health-at-work issues have been of central importance to the individual Member States and EU. It is generally acknowledged that a congenial work environment has a positive influence on health and well-being of employees as well as on performance and productivity. Risks at workplace have always been greater among the Central and East European Member States. The EU, in addition to its activities in the area of general health and safety at workplace, has focused on specific workplace issues. Efforts have been undertaken at the supranational and national levels that relate to the creation of healthy workplaces. Promotion of positive practice environments is vital. It benefits job satisfaction and well being, health-care providers' and organizational performance, patient outcomes, innovations, and professional recruitment and retention.