AGE contributes to UN General Comment on fair and favourable conditions of work

UN logo-smallThe Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a body overseeing the implementation of the United Nations human rights convention linked to these rights, is currently developing an interpretation of article 7 of the convention, the right to ‘fair and favourable conditions of work’. AGE welcomes that the Committee has taken up this issue and has contributed to the drafting of the General Comment.

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights sets out the right to just and favourable working conditions, outlining that this applies to remuneration, equal wages for work of equal value, decent living for workers and their families, safe and healthy working conditions, equal opportunity in promotion, reasonable limitations on working hours and rights to paid leave and rest.

General Day of Discussion planned in June

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has called for a General Day of Discussion in June to prepare an interpretation of this article. The draft General Comment takes up a number of issues that are important to AGE: remuneration in line with what constitutes an adequate standard of living, mandatory rest and leisure periods, non-discrimination in pay and promotion between men and women. More importantly, the Committee has taken up the situation of older workers in a specific paragraph dedicated to them.

AGE: look at links with other rights

For AGE, fair and favourable working conditions are a necessary precondition to be able to continue working in good health up to statutory retirement age. AGE has proposed to add some more lines to the draft General Comment, in order to take into account more fully the working conditions that are the basis for enjoying non-discrimination and adequate standard of living throughout the life-course. AGE has called for a stronger link between remuneration and the right to social security in the General Comment. Life-long learning and in-job trainings are crucial for older workers to keep their job and to be able to adapt to change. Therefore, access to life-long learning and in-job training opportunities must be subject to the same anti-discrimination rules as remuneration and promotion. Also, the situation of migrant workers and unpaid workers, such as family carers, should be covered by the General Comment in the respective sections.

AGE’s submission can be downloaded from the Committee’s web site.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by all EU member states, sets out rights such as the right to work, an adequate standard of living or the highest attainable standard of health. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is the body overseeing state parties’ implementation of the covenant and provides information on how to interpret certain rights.

For more information, please contact Philippe Seidel (

) or Nena Georgantzi (

) from the AGE Secretariat.

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