I am proud to announce that I am now a full member of a second committee in the European Parliament, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs!

So far, I have been a substitute member of this committee, as I continue to be of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and have “only” been a full member of the Committee on Culture and Education. It is not often the case that an MEP gets full membership (with voting rights) of two committees, therefore I consider it a great honour and I trust that this, too, is a testament to my work so far.

This year, the committee will have a number of key social-affairs-related documents to deal with. The three most important ones, in my view, include the legislation on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work, the recommendation on minimum income, and a European strategy to strengthen long-term care and early childhood education and care.

Of course, several other legislative proposals are already in the pipeline, such as the one concerning the coordination of social security systems, which aims to further modernise the EU rules for coordinating social security systems to make them clearer and fairer. Coordination will not replace established national systems, but rather determine equal minimum standards of social security provision for everyone. And then there is the issue of an adequate minimum wage in the EU. The directive will establish a balanced framework for the provision, setting and updating of statutory minimum wages based on national criteria to promote their adequacy, and for the enforcement of measures to promote collective bargaining in wage formation. It also aims to reduce the gender pay gap.

And speaking of the latter, I simply must mention another proposal being examined, i.e. on equal pay for equal work between men and women. This principle has been enshrined in the EU Treaties since 1957, yet significant differences still exist. Thus, this legislative proposal establishes a transparency mechanism – access to information on pay levels, which is crucial for combating gender-based pay discrimination.

I am already looking forward to new challenges as I move from the bench to the pitch in my “new” committee.

– Irena

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