Europe’s working-age population is shrinking, eventually resulting in labour shortages and challenges to social protection systems. To address this challenge, the European Union is working with the Member States to implement policies that make work more sustainable through living and working conditions that allow people to engage and remain in work throughout an extended working life.

Sustainable work is an essential component of the economy of wellbeing and an important driver of increased labour force participation, productivity, economic performance and social inclusion. If work is unsustainable, it affects the health and wellbeing of people in the labour market and their dependants, with consequences that emerge immediately or in the medium to long term.

The challenge is to match the needs and abilities of the individual with the quality of jobs on offer, by investing in quality jobs, fair working conditions, occupational health and safety, up-skilling and re-skilling.

The European Pillar of Social Rights should be the basis for offering quality jobs, with fair conditions to support people through the transitions they face throughout their working lives so that they are able to enter and re-enter the labour market quickly.

Council Conclusions on sustainable work over the life course