ФЕДЕРАЛЬНОЕ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННОЕ БЮДЖЕТНОЕ ОБРАЗОВАТЕЛЬНОЕ УЧРЕЖДЕНИЕ
ВЫСШЕГО ПРОФЕССИОНАЛЬНОГО ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ
«САНКТ-ПЕТЕРБУРГСКИЙ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННЫЙ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ»
Удалова Татьяна Сергеевна
Udalova Tatyana Sergeevna
Атипичная занятость во Франции и Германии.
Atypical Employment in France and Germany
на соискание степени магистра
по основной образовательной программе высшего образования
по направлению 040100 «Социология»,
профиль «Европейские общества» / MA «Studies in European Societies»
Научный руководитель /
кандидат экономических наук,
доцент Шершнева Е. Л.
Dr. Associate Prof. Elena Shershneva
Рецензент / Reviewer:
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Feldhoff
Germany and France are two neighboring countries with the largest economies
in continental Europe. Both of them suffer from the phenomenon of labour market
segmentation which was a response to global economic changes. This segmentation is
characterised by dual employment protection, i.e. leaving the regulations for
permanent regular workers almost unchanged, the countries increased flexibility only
for non-standard employees at the margin. Such liberalisation brought about the
whole range of atypical contractual arrangements. Comparing such widespread forms
of atypical work as part-time job, fixed-term employment and temporary agency
work, we trace similarities and differences in the incidence of these atypical
employment relations among certain groups of people, influenced by national
principles of employment organisation in both countries.
Key words: atypical employment, labour market regulation, part-time work,
fixed-term contract, temporary agency work, Germany, France.
Германия и Франция – две соседние страны с крупнейшими экономиками
в континентальной Европе. Реакцией на глобальные экономические изменения
явилась сегментация трудовых рынков в обеих странах, которая
характеризуется двойной системой охраны труда. Оставляя регулирование
занятости постоянных работников практически без изменений, государства
увеличили гибкость в отношении нетипичной трудовой деятельности, что
породило целый ряд нестандартных контрактных соглашений. Сравнивая в
данной работе такие распространенные виды атипичной занятости, как
неполное рабочее время, срочная занятость и заемный труд, мы увидим
сходства и различия в их применении, исходя из национальных особенностей
регулирования рынков труда.
Ключевые слова: атипичная занятость, регулирование рынка труда,
неполное рабочее время, срочная занятость, заемный труд, Германия, Франция.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Definition of atypical employment and trends.......................................................... 8
1.1. What is atypical employment?.......................................................................... 8
1.2. Traditional atypical employment relations......................................................10
1.3. New forms of employment..............................................................................14
1.4. Debates on precariousness............................................................................. 16
2. Organisation of employment in Germany and France............................................18
2.1. Theoretical frameworks of labour market segmentation and flexibilisation...18
2.2. Welfare state and employment regime............................................................ 23
2.3. Labour market and employment regulation....................................................24
2.4. Training systems..............................................................................................26
3. Atypical employment in the national contexts of Germany and France.................29
3.1. Part-time work.................................................................................................29
3.1.1. Germany.................................................................................................... 30
3.1.2. France........................................................................................................ 34
3.2. Fixed-term employment (temporary work).....................................................39
3.2.1. Germany.................................................................................................... 39
3.2.2. France........................................................................................................ 41
3.3. Temporary agency work..................................................................................42
3.3.1. Germany.................................................................................................... 42
3.3.2. France........................................................................................................ 44
3.3.3. Comparative analysis................................................................................ 45
4. Summary................................................................................................................. 47
The increased expansion of globalisation processes where economies though
different but still are interrelated, acts a considerable pressure on governments and
business to adapt to changes remaining competitive at the same time. Stable
unemployment particularly enforces states to loosen legal regulations and thus
diversify working contractual arrangements to involve more citizens into labour
market. Such policy is intended to enhance economic performance of the country on
Atypical employment is not a new phenomenon in the context of European
labour market but the rise of the former in the 1990s of the last century gave birth to
most heatable debates across countries. The trend has been investigated by many
researchers among whom are such scholars as B.Keller and H.Seifert (2012),
Eichhorst and Marx P. (2010), Messenger J.C. and Wallot P. (2015), Michon F. (2011)
to name but a few. Their contribution to the research will be considered in this paper.
The object of our research is atypical employment in Germany and France.
The subject of our investigation is similarities and differences in implementation of
various nonstandard contractual arrangements. Our research question is formulated
in this way: how and why do certain atypical work forms (part-time, fixed-term,
temporary agency work) differ in the national contexts of Germany and France? For
realisation of this research the following objectives are due to achieve:
- To find out the meaning of 'atypical';
- To describe traditional and new forms of nonstandard employment
- To find out the correlation between 'atypical' and 'precarious';
- To consider theoretical approaches to labour market segmentation and
- To describe welfare state and employment regime in Germany and France;
- To examine labour market and employment regulation in both countries;
- To review and compare the implementation of such traditional flexible
forms of employment as part-time work, fixed-term employment and
temporary agency work;
The main analytical contribution of this study is to understand better how the
three atypical work forms have gained in importance in a situation of labour market
flexibilisation and interpret the main driving forces for their expansion. In our study
we focus on the analysis of part-time, fixed-term and temporary agency work in a
comparative framework which will allow us to find out the main points of
discrepancy or similarity specific for Germany and France.
To achieve the objectives of the study we use quantitative methods of
secondary data. We mainly focus on national contributions to the investigation of the
phenomenon under consideration, though having surveyed international literature on
this question as well. Particular emphasis was made on women as there is evident
increase in their participation in labour market; and young people since they are first
to be hit in case of crisis. The major part of statistics was taken from OECD.Stat.
The structure of this study is divided into 4 chapters and responds to the
analytical tasks described above. The 1st chapter begins with the definition of atypical
employment, non-universality of which caused proliferation of terms. Here we also
give rather encompassing lists of traditional and newly emerged forms of atypical
employment, as well as discuss the difference between 'atypical' and 'precarious'.
The 2nd chapter examines the organisation of employment in Germany and
France including theoretical approaches to its segmentation and flexibilisation. We
also outline the main tendencies in labour market and employment regulation,
followed by exploring the differences in German and French training systems which
are either of great help or not so in search of permanent employment.
In the 3rd chapter we consider the implementation of such atypical contractual
arrangements as part-time work, fixed-term employment and temporary agency work
in Germany and France. We do a comparative analysis of these work forms based on
specific features of employment organisation in both countries discussed in the
In conclusion (the 4th chapter) we answer our research question presenting the
main findings of investigation.
Definition of atypical employment and trends
What is atypical employment?
Atypical employment is not a newly emerged phenomenon. In the work
''International comparison of atypical employment: differing concepts and realities in
industrialized countries'' Kazuya Ogura (2005) gives a brief review of the evolution
of the analyzed concept since the establishment of capitalism and traces the origin of
the notion in Europe. Ogura points out that no definitive theory of the latter is
available. Citing Shimada (1991) he refers to the French labour law (which stipulates
that a ''labour contract without fixed contract term is considered typical'' (Article
L121-5))1 and noticed that 'atypical labour contract' ultimately related to fixed-term
and agency work after the 1980s2. Therefore, it is assumed, 'atypical' was rendered
from the French 'atypiques' (from the French ''Contrats de travail atypiques'' (atypical
labour contract)) and came into usage all over Europe as well as in Japan (ibid.).
Despite being quite a processed issue in academic and political arena, the
notion of atypical employment as a reality lacks any unified definition. The concept
of atypical employment takes a great amount of forms used in the academic literature
on the discussed issue. Kalleberg (2000) provides the whole range of terms with
reference to the researchers applying them in their studies. So one can come across
'alternative work arrangements', 'market-mediated arrangements', 'nontraditional
employment relations', 'flexible staffing arrangements', 'flexible working practices',
'vagrant or peripheral employment', 'vulnerable work', 'precarious employment',
'disposable work', 'contingent work' (ibid., p.341).
The common feature of the above-mentioned forms lies in that this
phenomenon is mostly considered through comparison (or better opposition) to
typical, standard employment relationships. European Industrial Relations Dictionary
defines it in the following way:
1 Ogura, 2005, p.12
2 making a remark that this particular type of workers was already discussed in 1970s.
Atypical work refers to employment relationships not conforming to the
standard or ‘typical’ model of full-time, regular, open-ended employment with
a single employer over a long time span. The latter in turn is defined as a
socially secure, full-time job of unlimited duration, with standard working
hours guaranteeing a regular income and, via social security systems geared
towards wage earners, securing pension payments and protection against illhealth and unemployment3.
A great diversity of terms as George and Chattopadhyay (2015) point out,
describing the working arrangements which deviate from standard ones makes it
difficult to compare cross-national studies. Researchers from various states tend to
use particular terms from the list denoting the related categories in a different way
which leads to much coincidence and thus confusion. George and Chattopadhyay
(2015) give an example when one and the same 'contingent work' indicates
employment for short period as well as part-time working arrangements which still
may imply permanent labour relations without any termination (ibid.). To add to this
Quinlan (2015) explains that such overlaps are possible because of focusing on a
couple of work categories rather than scrutinizing the whole spectrum of work
arrangements. Moreover, the analysis is further complicated by multiple jobholding
(typical of hospitality industry) or ambiguous employment status of some workers
(when workers in industries like hospitality or construction can be either selfemployed or work through an agency on a regular basis) [ CITATION Qui15 \l 1049 ]
It is also highlighted by George & Chattopadhyay (2015) that exactly the
proliferation of multiple terms constitute obstacles as for researchers themselves to
compare data from different countries (since national statistics differentiate), as well
as for policy makers to initiate a programme of adequate and appropriate reforms in
the labour market regulation (ibid.). The same authors make reference to Pfeffer and
Baron who, in their opinion, gave the most influential definition of non-standard
workers and categorized them into three main groups:
workers with limited temporal attachment to the organisation (temporary or
short term contracts);
workers with limited physical attachment to the organization (at-home
workers, virtual workers, teleworkers);
workers with limited administrative attachment to the organization
(contract workers, agency temporary workers)
According to another classification they distinguish external workers and
casual workers emphasizing different aspects of atypical work. In the first case we
have different firms with outsourcing principle and in the second one limited
commitments between employer and employee are meant (ibid., p.2-3).
Still another aspect which many researchers confusingly refer to the intrinsic
feature and indispensable part of all types of non-standard work is precariousness.
But that deserves particular consideration (as there are certain limitations) and will be
examined after we have given a survey of the types of atypical employment.
Now we shall proceed to the forms non-standard employment takes.
Traditional atypical employment relations
Part-time work is supposed to be the most wide-spread form. Keller and
Seifert (2012) refer to it as the traditional form of non-standard employment. Parttime is characterised by fewer weekly working hours in comparison to those on
permanent full-time contracts. Pay is correspondingly reduced. It is worth mentioning
that specific legal thresholds vary across countries. Generally it makes fewer than 3530 hours per week. In some cases contracts stipulate very short hours or even no
predictable hours at all, and then it will refer to some other category like on-call work
which is considered below.
A specific German version of part-time employment is minijobs emerged with
the so-called Hartz laws. Interestingly enough this type implies not a certain
temporary dimension but the financial one, i.e. an employee earns below the
threshold of 450 € (since 2013). Keller and Seifert (2012) stress the necessary
distinction to be made within this contractual type: it can be the only job or an
additional one but the first case prevail (70% of all mini-jobs) (ibid.)
Another German peculiarity is midi-job with monthly earnings between
450,01-850 €. More than one third of these employees work full-time (ibid., p.6).
Therefore we can discern here a certain risk of precariousness which will be
discussed later on.
Kalleberg (2000) pays attention to the fact that part-time in Europe has a
reference to marginal employment with implicating low pay and low wage. Though
he admits country differences regarding this type of employment which represents
either marginalisation strategy, which provides employers with cheap labour or an
integration strategy used to retain valued workers.
Fixed-term employment implies certain period of contract termination either
indicating the reasons for that or not.
As we have already mentioned above, many researchers like Keller and Sefert
(2012) or some ILO representatives [CITATION Int15 \l 1049 ] do not designate
between fixed-term and temporary work. The latter, however, make fixed-term work
a part of temporary employment, together with project or task-based contracts,
seasonal and casual work (which we describe separately further on). There are
differences among countries in regulating this form of employment relations
concerning the nature of work, duration of contract and number of renewals.
Agency work (or leased labour or labour hire [ CITATION Qui15 \l
1049 ],temporary help agency, temp agency, temporary agency work, or TAW)
constitutes triangular contractual arrangements according to which ''a worker is
deployed and paid by a private employment agency to perform work for a user
firm''[CITATION Int15 \l 1049 ].
In addition to agency work Quinlan (2015) refers also franchising and other
types of structured subcontracting to multilateral employment relations.
Self-employment is a form of ambiguous employment relationships when for
instance ''the respective rights and obligations of the parties concerned are not
clear''[ CITATION Int15 \l 1049 ]. They distinguish two groups of workers in this
solo self-employed or one person business/ family business or Me, Inc. and
family company (Keller B., 2012, p.3,11) who have ''neither an employer
nor a wage contract and are responsible for their own tax arrangements''
(Kalleberg, 2000, p.355). Kalleberg also calls them 'individual contractors'
highlighting that they are not employees (ibid., p.356). Ogura also adds
that family members assisting them are called family workers [ CITATION
KOg \l 1049 ] ;
dependent [ CITATION Int15 \l 1049 ][CITATION Kel121 \l 1049 ] selfemployed provide services for business under a civil or commercial
contract but depend on a couple of clients concerning their income and
receive direct instructions regarding the implementation of work
[ CITATION Int15 \l 1049 ].
Eichhorst et al. (2016) mention also quasi-dependent self-employment giving
however no hints what is meant: does it refer to either of the above-mentioned groups
or is it a separate type?
Some authors [ CITATION Qui15 \l 1049 ] combine dependent selfemployment and subcontracting as the forms of outsourcing.
Seasonal work is a form of temporary employment marked by the definite
period of the year (e.g., harvest time) and a certain sector (e.g., tourism industry). It
should be noted that compared to the permanent workforce a seasonal worker can
lose much in terms of statutory entitlements (e.g., dismissal protection), benefits (e.g.,
pension) and specific working conditions (like training or health and safety)4
Telework is defined as remote work carried out on the regular basis at home
with the use of information technology (the Internet, email and telephone)5. One
should distinguish this type of employment from homeworking which refers to
people working also at home but on tasks like knitting or stuffing envelopes. The
latter (sometimes called 'outworkers') tend to suffer from poor working conditions
and low social protection. On the contrary, a teleworker may hold a rather high
position (i.e. be highly paid and valued) in a company and simply on their own
initiative change the office for home6.
Casual worker is defined by Eurofound as 'a worker on a temporary
employment contract with generally limited entitlements to benefits and little or no
security of employment. The main attribute is the absence of a continuing
relationship of any stability with an employer, which could lead to their not being
considered ‘employees’ at all'7.
The authors of ''Working time in the twenty-first century'' [CITATION IlO11 \l
1049 ] also add to this category on-call working and zero-hours contracts which
stipulate no predictable time for work. Interestingly enough, these types are subpoints
in marginal part-time with very short hours.
It is worth highlighting that on-call work is distinguished from on-call hours
''under an employment contract that otherwise specifies working hours, common, for
example, in the medical profession'' (ILO, 2015, p.3)
Apprenticeship (or internships) is in most research excluded along with
freelancers, one-euro jobs for work experience [CITATION Kel121 \l 1049 ] (in some
studies, though, freelancers are related to dependent self-employed). Ogura (2005),
however, make vocational trainees a separate group of atypical workers who do their
work at an enterprise in exchange for being trained and though little but still paid.
Additionally the term ''subsidized contract'' can be found in research literature.
Shift work, night work and holiday work are considered by Ogura atypical as
well and are called ''unsocial forms of employment'' (ibid., p.15).
In the Exploratory analysis of fourth European working conditions survey they
differentiate the following types of employment:
- standard (indefinite full-time employment contract taken as a reference
- atypical employment (temporary agency work or fixed-term contract of
more than six months);
- very atypical employment (no contract, very short part-time with less
than 10 hours a week or fixed-term contract of six months or less)
- residual category (apprenticeships and other non-specified contracts)
[ CITATION Eur10 \l 1049 ].
1.3. New forms of employment
In this section we examine newly8 emerged forms of employment having
agreed that since new forms are all non-conventional we refer them to atypical types
Taking into consideration the adverse side-effects of labour market
flexibilisation, the more prominent sound the calls for flexicurity9. Flexicurity is a
rather new concept in academic and political discourse, so there is no unified
definition of this term. Still the fundamental principles can be distinguished.
Following the communication ''Towards Common Principles of Flexicurity''
presented by the European Commission (2007) we define flexicurity as ''an integrated
strategy to enhance, at the same time, flexibility and security in the labour market''.
So the two components are considered to complement rather than oppose to each
other. Given the striking segmentation of present employment realm, the Commission
8 Relatively new, the extension of which started in 2000s in contrast to those considered traditional (Ch.III.2)
known since 1970-1980s.
9 The flexicurity model, first implemented in Denmark in the 1990s, is a combination of easy hiring and firing
providing flexibility for employers, and high benefits for the unemployed providing security for the employees. This
must be combined with training to increase job mobility
together with the Member States aim at complementation of both dimensions. Four
policy components to implement flexicurity were elaborated:
Flexible and reliable contractual arrangements;
Comprehensive lifelong learning;
Effective active labour market policies;
Modern social security systems[ CITATION Eur07 \l 1049 ].
Researchers from Eurofound made an executive summary of new forms of
employment operating in Member States. Surprisingly, it is not emphasized that these
are atypical or non-standard working arrangements but examined in correlation with
flexible and inclusive labour markets [ CITATION Eur15 \l 1049 ]. But in view of
close interrelation between flexibility and non-standard employment, we will
consider new types also atypical, particularly because, as it is indicated in the
summary, they are characterized by ''unconventional work patterns and places of
work, or by the irregular provision of work'' (ibid., p.1).
So since around the year 2000 there have emerged the following phenomena:
employee sharing 10(when an individual works for a couple of employers
thus making full-time permanent employment);
job sharing (when workers several part-timers are hired for a specific job
making thus a full-time position);
interim management (a highly skilled expert from the outside is employed
to solve a certain problem at an enterprise);
casual work (has been discussed earlier);
ICT-based mobile work (job can be done from any place at any time via
voucher-based work (''the employment relationship is based on payment for
services with a voucher purchased from an authorised organization that
covers both pay and social security contributions'' (ibid., p.1));
portfolio work (an individual does small assignments for a number of
crowd employment (large tasks are divided among 'virtual cloud'of
10 It is considered ''an innovative form of work organisation which combines flexibility for companies with
less precarious working conditions for workers''[ CITATION Lan15 \l 1049 ]
collaborative employment (where ''freelancers, the self-employed or micro
enterprises cooperate in some way to overcome limitations of size and
professional isolation'' (ibid., p.2))
The following new forms are identified in Germany and France:
Table 1 - New forms of employment [ CITATION Eur15 \l 1049 ]
Germany and France
ICT-based mobile work
1.4. Debates on precariousness
Precarious employment is an issue of most heatable debates on academic and
political arena. It is asserted that the ultimate form of precariousness is informal
economy [ CITATION IlO11 \l 1049 ]. At the beginning of our work we have
remarked that most studies and policy makers equal atypical and precarious
employment. There is really much overlap but the two types do not coincide.
Bispinck and Schulten (2011) differentiate main-risk dimensions in employment
leading to precariousness:
Income (low and irregular pay);
Employment (no entry to enter the labour market, lack of career prospects);
Working time (from extremely short and irregular to extremely long hours);
Social security (no access to social security system);
Participation (limited possibilities of interest representation) [CITATION
Bis11 \l 1049 ].
Among all of the above mentioned pay is considered the core dimension. This
accounts for the fact even full-time permanent employees are under precarious
conditions if they earn less than two-thirds of the median wage (i.e. not enough to
maintain adequate living standards) or, e.g., their working conditions are not
regulated by any collective bargaining and thus they suffer abuses. Binspinck and
Schulten (2011) state there were one-fifth of full-time but precarious employees.
At the same time not all atypical employment falls into this category. Many
studies admit that for instance so-called 'voluntary' part-time female employees
succeed in keeping work-life balance and combining career with family
commitments. Though, as Wagner (2014) remarks, such women can still be
considered in hazardous conditions since they lack financial self-sufficiency and
depend much on the family bread-winner, so that marital stability is of crucial
Another interesting type of working arrangement is presented by telework (see
above for the definition) which, in our opinion, is by no means precarious though still
In the following chapter we examine the main features of labour market
segmentation which gave rise to various forms of atypical employment in Germany
and France. At first we discuss how the dualism is expressed in each of the cases and
then summarize convergent and divergent characteristics.
2. Organisation of employment in Germany and France
2.1. Theoretical frameworks of labour market segmentation and
As we have already cited Ogura (2005), non-standard forms of employment
were discussed in 1970s of the last century. Since that period global world has
experienced significant changes regarding work arrangements. Quinlan (2015) gives
a brief outline of the major phenomena in this realm. Among others he lists the
Employment status variations, increase of fixed-term, on-call, casual
workers as well as 'conversion'11 of employees to self-employed
Outsourcing of activities by employers ('off-shoring'12), growth of
temporary employment agencies and leased labour firms;
An expansion of remote/mobile, tele-work, homework;
Decrease in employment duration together with job security (Quinlan,
The driving power to such transformations was given by shifts in
business/employment practices, deterioration of collective bargaining and softening
of the regulatory policies of governments for the sake of flexibility (ibid.), i.e.
flexibilisation of labour market. Quinlan also finds it critical to recognise that the
upsurge in atypical contractual arrangements went hand in hand with such remarkable
shifts in workforce of many countries as ageing of the population, greater female
participation and (what is crucial) ''historically unprecedented use of migrant workers
(including internal migrants) including those on temporary visas (guest workers,
tourists and students) and undocumented workers'' (Quinlan, 2015, p.2)
The trend towards labour market flexibilisation dates back to the 1980-1990s
of the last century when global economic changes enhanced competition among
countries, organisations and workers. The growing rate of unemployment resulted
11 Quotes of Quinlan (2015)
12 Quotes of the author.
from incapabilities of governments to provide everyone with full-time wage job
[CITATION Kal00 \l 1049 ]13.
Four types of flexibility are distinguished:
Numerical (employers' ability to adjust the size of workplace organizations
to the changing economy using temporary workers[ CITATION Kas07 \l
Functional (the ability of employers to deploy or redeploy workers from
one task to another with minimal interruption in the work process (ibid.));
Temporal flexibility (the possibility to adjust working time and working
hours according to the needs of employer and employee[CITATION
Bar09 \l 1049 ]);
Wage flexibility (possibility to adjust wage levels (ibid.)).
The outcomes of such flexibilisation, however, are rather controversial. On the
one hand, following the ‘integration scenario’, both employers and employees benefit
from labour market flexibilisation. If the former may gain more profit by streamlining
production and reducing costs, the latter (particularly low-qualified or even
unemployed) gain access to the labour market. Consequently, this improves economic
performance on the whole[CITATION Gie03 \l 1049 ].
On the other hand, according to the cleavage scenario, the outcomes may be
quite the opposite. With the rise of atypical work arrangements, employees ''lose
much of their bargaining power'' (ibid., p.163). As regards efficiency of production, it
is more increased by stability rather than flexibility[CITATION Gie03 \t \l 1049 ].
Besides, greater use of non-regular contracts may undermine the employer's ability to
meet the changeable market of new technologies and products where a trained and
committed worker is of crucial importance (Rubery, 2003). So we can see that
13 The unemployment rate in Europe came to average ten per cent, whereas in the United States of America
this figure made from four to six per cent. Thus it was thought that something went wrong in Europe and organisations
like the OECD and employer groups enforced European governments to deregulate labour markets with the aim of
flexibilisation. However, some countries within the EU (Denmark, for instance) outperformed the US during the same
period despite different forms of labour market regulation. Though the deregulated US model facilitated job creation
and extensive flows out of unemployment, it still generated low wages as well as low productivity jobs, whereas the
economic performance of the EU was estimated by total factor and labour productivity [CITATION Rub03 \l 1049 ].
''greater flexibility does not always imply greater potential to adapt and respond to
change'' (ibid., p.141).
As a result countries all over the world, and European ones in particular, suffer
from the so-called labour market segmentation, i.e., ''the division of the labour market
into separate submarkets or segments, distinguished by different characteristics and
behavioural rules'' (Deakin, 2013, p.iii).
Moreover, segmentation theory which classifies atypical employment relations
as either those increasing 'internal' flexibility (e.g., part-time work as a firm-internal
resource) or those promoting 'external' flexibility (fixed-term contracts and agency
work)[CITATION Gie09 \t \l 1049 ] implies also the distinction between 'insiders'
and 'outsiders'. The former are workers with long-term contracts who benefit from
stringent labour market protection; and the latter are employees with non-standard
contracts with little or no protection. Such dualisation enhances social inequality
though not to the equal extent across Europe.
Now we shall proceed to theoretical framework of labour market segmentation.
Deakin (2013) gives an overview of three perspectives which bring various
economic, legal and developmental dimensions to the fore.
Economic perspectives (internal labour market theory, efficiency wage theory,
insider-outsider theory, feminist economic theory)
Internal labour market theory originates from the 1970s and divides the labour
market into 'primary' and 'secondary' segments. The former is characterized by stable
firm-specific employment whereas the latter by unskilled, low-paid and short-term
jobs. While the primary market is underpinned by official red tape, unrestricted
competition predominates in the secondary one. Deakin (2013) points out that it was
consistent with human capital theory which deals with interdependence between the
employment duration and reciprocal contributions to firm-specific training. George
and Chattopadhyay (2015) provide some explanation to that. It is the strategic value
of human capital that predetermines which contract to conclude, standard or
nonstandard one. When the workforce enhances the company's performance then the
latter should be convinced that the worker is attached to firm and related human
resource practices with long-term contract. In case of low strategic value of human
capital the company concludes short-term contracts (when the human capital is not
unique or rare) or certain partnership with third party organisations for provision of
services which are exceptional but not of the strategic value for the company (e.g.,
legal or financial advisors). Similar logic can be traced in transaction cost
considerations where long-term standard contracts are concluded if interests of
company and workers coincide.
As Deakin (2013) notes these investigations were followed by efficiency wage
theory. These arguments draw to certain reflection of external market prices on the
worker's efficiency pay and company's need to stimulate labour force with internal
payment systems as well as job security arrangements. In other words, if employers
cannot control worker's capabilities and motivation without cost, and job-specific
investments are of crucial importance, they have to raise payments together with
other elements of the work bargain above the opportunity or market-clearing wage.
When remuneration of labour does not fully reflect prices, work is superseded to the
secondary market where competition is further exacerbated. This reserve labour force
acts as a disciplinary threat of job loss for those in primary sector thus displaying a
positive side-effect of employer's bargaining strategy (ibid.).
Insider-outsider theory is based on the same logic though shifting attention to
the impact of trade unionism in segmenting the labour market.
Feminist economic theory highlights the traditional household division of
labour as a source of segmentation. Women are said to be in a disadvantaged position
both within the household (where their labour is unrated) and in the labour market
(where they suffer from occupational segregation, inequality in wages, training,
security and employment-related benefits. From this viewpoint laws aimed at
eliminating this gender-specific discrimination at labour market will mitigate the
effects of its segmentation as well (ibid.).
Legal perspectives (the standard employment relationship model, reflexive
The previously mentioned economic theories give proposals of how special
laws can counteract the segmentation of labour market. But as a matter of fact
legislation itself can trigger segmentation. This theory is considered to be originated
in German legal and sociological writings of the 1980s and to have much in common
with institutionalist approach in sociology putting the role of labour legislation in
regulating labour relationships to the fore. Here standard employment relations do not
only present an ideal model for legal interventions but also a reference point for
protection, selection and incentivisation.
Standard employment relationship differs across countries displaying various
experiences in industrialisation and labour relations developments. Deakin provides
an example of Germany where legislation clearly stipulates the demarcation line
between standard and atypical forms of employment, and Britain where standard
employment used to be a tendency within the collective bargaining system (before
certain amendments in labour regulation).
It is also noted that the model of standard employment relations has been
challenged by globalisation and political factors of deregulation policies, all resulting
in outsourcing, subcontracting and increased female participation in the labour
Within the contrasting reflexive labour law theory two main implications can
be found. The first one stresses that economic pressures do not find immediate
reflection in law as it is an autonomous social system. Despite the functional role of
law in regulating of employment it is still path-dependent at that and yields to certain
internal discourses. According to the second one the efficiency of legal system is not
predetermined and highly depends on social actors' self-regulation.
Correlation between segmentation phenomenon and legal form of standard
employment lies in that the stricter standard working arrangements are protected the
higher pressure on the law to allow the emergence of alternative flexible forms of
employment. Citing Rogowski, Deakin emphasizes that ''reflexive labour law teaches
deregulation that it is dependent on the willingness of the targeted social systems to
respond to its demands'' (ibid., p.6)
Development perspectives (mechanisms for addressing informality)
Standard employment as a point of reference is rather controversial in the
context of developing countries where most employees experience difficulties in
entering regular employment so that transferred model of standard employment from
developed economies to those still experiencing industrialisation would be a failure.
This is explained by the specificities of post-colonial societies and nonuniformity of
trade conditions between developed and developing countries and therefore tailored
forms of state intervention are required. Regarding this segmentation theory standard
employment relationships cause informality and result in the need for flexibility, i.e.
other work forms[ CITATION Dea13 \l 1049 ].
These theoretical arguments can be brought together to establish three main
reasons for using atypical forms of employment:
cost advantages (remuneration of nonstandard employees are lower than
that of standard ones);
flexibility advantages (nonregular workers can perform various tasks, in
various locations and be hired in short order);
technological changes (which make atypical employment possible)
[CITATION Geo15 \t \l 1049 ].
Examining the workforce segmentation in Germany, Eichhorst and Kendzia
(2014) distinguish institutional theory, functional arrangement of labour market and
closely linked with the latter concept of skill formation.
2.2.Welfare state and employment regime.
In this section we will examine how welfare regimes demarcate the differences
in employment systems across countries, structure work organization and patterns of
labour market activity thus influencing the expansion of nonstandard work forms.
Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) provide some typologies of welfare states.
According to the first one, described by Esping-Andersen, there exist three types of
welfare capitalism: social democratic model (Sweden), neo-liberal model (the USA)
and corporatist model (Germany, France). The key difference between these regimes
lies in the extent of labour decommodification (i.e. ''the degree to which individuals,
or families, can uphold a socially acceptable standard of living independently of
market participation''14). Here we are interested in such points of corporatist model as
high share of domestic services and high wages for men, lower wages for secondary
workers. In this insurance-based welfare system state enforces insurance policies for
citizens to protect themselves against the loss of income through unemployment and
to provide for their old age [ CITATION Rub03 \l 1049 ].
The corporatist welfare system (to which both Germany and France refer) does
not only add to the division of labour market into high and low status workers but
also demarcates the gender division of labour viewing men as single breadwinners
and restricting women's role to that of household commitments. The latter are
provided with welfare payments through their insured spouses; and children and
elderly care is provided by transfer payments to households rather than directly by
public services. Such welfare mechanisms as taxation, benefit systems or insurancebased rights cover both men and women given that the former actively participate in
labour market and the latter are in stable marriage with employed men.
In contrast, alternative classification by Lewis (1992) distinguishes strong,
modified and weak breadwinner model. The first one is similar to the corporatist or
German system as mentioned above. France fits to the modified model which
supports strong male breadwinner model in some respects and weak male
breadwinner in other, i.e. French women are encouraged by social and tax policy to
remain in the household on the one hand, yet developed provision of child care
assistance make full-time participation in labour market affordable.
2.3. Labour market and employment regulation.
Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) point out that countries all over the world fail to
provide their entire workforce with sufficient high quality jobs. In order to cut
unemployment and exploit the most human resources states with strict labour market
14 Citation from G.Esping-Andersen ('The three worlds of welfare capitalism') given by Rubery and Grimshaw
regulation are advised to follow American model and generate low-paid jobs.
Germany, for instance, used to heavily rely15 on high-quality jobs primarily in
manufacturing which together with tax subsidies from welfare state provide
reasonable standard of living for a man and his family.
Besides, there is direct correlation between child care provision and
employment participation of women. The main instruments of support to families in
this respect are leave arrangements, care provision and schooling. Good childcare
provision is guaranteed from a young age in France; whereas in Germany effective
provision starts from the age of three. However, short school days as a rule finishing
by lunchtime present a greater obstacle for German working women. French pupils
meanwhile can stay at school till evening[ CITATION Rub03 \l 1049 ]. So we can see
that France creates better opportunities for changing the traditional household
division of labour.
As to the gender division of labour within both paid and unpaid work it is
influenced by the view on women in wider politic and societal conditions, i.e. as
mothers, workers or citizens. In the first case maternity impacts labour market
participation (Germany). In the second case maternal commitments have to conform
the needs of employment regime (the US). And in the third case women enjoy equal
rights to participate in wage work (Sweden). Concerning France, it promotes the
image of women as mothers to stimulate demographic growth; but at the same time
women are supported by the state in either case whether staying at work (by childcare
provision) or staying at home (by generous benefit provision for women with two or
Recent decades have witnessed continuous increase in women employment
based on the pursuit of economic independence almost disregardless of assistance
from the state or labour market. Women are said to be employed in flexible and
disposable labour whose participation is influenced by available job opportunities and
whose labour cost is lower than that of men; therefore they can be often found in
15And the trend is still preserved in this or that way
16 Men are mostly viewd as workers or citizens; their reproductive role is considered secondary[ CITATION
Rub03 \l 1049 ].
part-time employment. Here women suffer certain inequalities concerning earnings,
career development and training. Despite all the negative side-effects, however, parttime workers can successfully keep work-life balance, particularly when the
alternative is unemployment and/or inappropriate care arrangements.
Moreover, women tend to raise their educational level which facilitates their
activity in the labour market and enables them to choose higher level types of
employment. Though there are still those employed in traditional low-wage services
with all the negative implications[ CITATION Rub03 \l 1049 ].
2.4. Training systems
It would not be superfluous to pay attention to the national systems of training
in Germany and France since it is exactly what precedes the entrance to the labour
market and thus explains specificities of various non-standard employment
German labour market is characterised as consensus-led occupational one
(OLM) in contrast to the French state-led internal labour market (ILM). Following
Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) we distingyish the following points of divergence.
Firstly, system of training differs in that internal labour market model provides
only workplace-related training; whereas in occupational labour market training
combines part-time college-based education with on-the-job training through work
experience. It is employers' responsibility to design and implement training in ILM;
and in OLM training is regulated by all social partners – state, employer associations
and trade unions.
Secondly, as to the skills development, in OLM there exist broad occupational
criteria according to which skills are designed and certified; in case of ILM skills are
elaborated narrowly to reflect specific needs and requirements of a company and
therefore are not confirmed since they vary across organisations.
Thirdly, through delivery of training workers attain particular social and
economic status. In ILM only a position within the company is guaranteed and status
depends on the reputation of enterprise at that; in OLM broad qualification is
acknowledged across companies within particular sector of economy.
This results in the range of job opportunities: a worker enjoys inter-firm
mobility within the OLM and restricted to intra-firm mobility in ILM.
Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) emphasize that economy-wide, institutional
regulation of training marked by high standards and wide coverage has brought
international respect to Germany. Regulation is performed by social partners
involved in co-determination, i.e. state, employers and unions. The costs of such 'dual
system'17 of apprenticeship are distributed between the actors of another tripartite
structure: state provides off-site general training, employers cover the costs of
workplace training and at last workers themselves pay for the period of
apprenticeship (two to three years), though indirectly, by accepting low rate of
remuneration in comparison to standard adult rate. This often leads to the direct
hiring of an employee, without their being unemployed. Such system gives a chance
for internal career advancement as well as inter-firm mobility secured by general
In case of France it is the state which primarily responsible for the provision of
training with more emphasis on general academic education and less stress on
vocational training. According to Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) workplace
apprenticeships are not that common in French companies as in German ones and if
they are present they are characterized by poor reputation being an option for the
low-skilled and therefore considered a cost rather than an investment18. As a result
opportunities are strongly polarized reflecting the gap between high level of
managerial training and unsystematic education of manual workers (ibid.).
So expanded opportunities of skill development facilitate vertical mobility of
an employee within the given firm thus fostering workers' commitment to the
organization or in the opposite case low-skilled employees are confined to marginal
employment which is hardly stable or secured by social benefits.
17 Quotes of Rubery and Grimshaw (2003, p.121)
18And even a number of policy initiatives have not changed the situation [CITATION Rub03 \l 1049 ]
As a matter of fact, as Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) observe, strategies of
raising employee's qualification may clash with pressures for firm flexibility so that
companies would rather turn to subcontracting than to pay training costs even for the
core workforce thus adding to the spread of atypical employment.
3. Atypical employment in the national contexts of Germany and France
Further on we describe nonstandard work arrangements in Germany and
France. We will examine implementation in both countries of such already traditional
(due to the emergence in 1970-1980s) forms of atypical contracts as part-time, fixedterm employment and temporary agency work.
3.1. Part-time work
The prominent nowadays trend towards more flexible employment presented
earlier an attempt to avoid layoffs in times of crises and periods of raising
unemployment. For governments it was a kind of job creation and employers
protected their core workforce not without pursuit of flexibility and cost containment
thus maintaining their productivity and competitiveness.
Having examined a bulk of literature on the discussed phenomenon we cannot
but agree with Quinlan (2015) that there is evident and significant overlap between
part-time and temporary work. Though, this is not the rule. Part-time work may be
also stipulated in open-ended contracts particularly in order to save firing-hiring costs
and retain valuable workforce. The expansion of part-time employment is considered
to be consistent with female labour supply together with the growth of service
economy. Rubery and Grimshaw (2003), however, emphasize the absence of any
universal relation between the availability of part-time work and the integration of
women into the labour market. Reduced working hours can be also used as a scheme
to approach early retirement.
Findings from the 2015 annual report of the European Jobs Monitor, which
looks at employment developments over 2011–2014 show that part-time along with
temporary work and self-employment continuously replace traditional full-time
contracts with the latter becoming the privilege of workers in the best-paid jobs
(Eurofound, 2015, p.25). The same source notes the highest growth of part-time in
the lowest pay category (e.g., retail worker, cleaner, helper)
Germany belongs to the countries with strict employment protection level19, i.e.
labour legislation strongly regulates individual as well as collective dismissals. In this
connection Rubery and Grimshaw (2003) provide an interesting example of
'imaginative'20 scheme introduced by Volkswagen. Because of excess power and
productivity improvements in 1990s the company was about to make nearly 30,000
employees redundant. Though direct labour cuts present the easiest solution, still such
massive ''dismissal for operational reasons adjusted to production''21 would have been
quite expensive from a legal point of view (because of great influence of works
councils in co-determination). This state of affairs forced Peter Hartz, industrial
relations director of Volkswagen, to search alternative ways out. As a result working
time was reduced from 36 to 28.8 hours per week without wage compensation.
As can be seen from the figure 1 part-time rate has not strikingly increased
during the last decade (from 24.0 to 27.6), still constituting a rather high share of total
employment. Both men and women raised the indicators by 3 % (7.8 to 10.8% and
43.8 to 47.0% respectively)
Figure 1 - Incidence of part-time employment (%)
19 3.0 out of 6 for permanent workers and 1.8 for temporary employees, 2013, OECD
20 Rubery and Grimshaw 2003, p.188
21 Extract from P.Garnjost and K.Blettner, 'Volkswagen: cutting labour costs without redundancies', in J.Storey
(ed.), Blackwell Cases In Human Resource and Change Management, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996)
Figure 2 - Part-time employment to total employment (%)
Though Figure 2 shows that women still account the largest part of this
employment type, the major change , however, from 2005 to 2014 has been made in
favour of men (from 17.8 to 20.8%).
Many researchers (Wagner, Keller and Seifert, Rubery and Grimshaw) relate
the long-term increase in part-time work with the growing female participation in the
labour force (Figure 3).
Figure 3 – Share of part-time employment by gender (%)
The high share of women in part-time is explained by family reasons:
particularly, as for instance Keller and Seifert (2012) note, most women voluntarily
opt for such employment and we can assume they do so to succeed in work-life
balancing. Statistic data support such a statement. As OECD.Stat (Figures 4 and 5)
shows, the share of involuntary part-timers, and female ones in paricular, has
decreased for the last decade.
Figure 4 - Incidence of involuntary part time workers
Involuntary parttimers in total
Involuntary parttimers in labour
Involuntary parttimers in population
Involuntary parttimers as % of
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Figure 5 - Incidence of involuntary part-time workers, women (%)
Involuntary parttimers in total
Iinvoluntary parttimers as % of
Wagner (2014) however, provides a different reason for the state of affairs.
Inter alia she emphasizes such factors as relatively stable male breadwinner model
and underdeveloped infrastructure of childcare provision, a number of legislative
norms such as family tax splitting to name but a few. Besides, concerning the
voluntary basis of female part-time, Bispinck and Schulten (2011) suggest that
personal and family obligations might be considered to a certain extent involuntary.
Moreover, this trend together with increased share of male part-time find
reflection in a recent legislative development which promoted part-time work among
male and female parents. According to Eurofound (2015) a new scheme (Elterngeld
Plus) of the given parental allowance was enacted starting from January 2015. It
statutorily motivates mothers to choose such employment type and fathers to reduce
their working hours in favour of childcare.
The regulation of part-time work is stipulated by the Act on part-time and
fixed-term employment (Teilzeit und Befristungsgesetz, TzBfG) inacted in 2000. In
companies with 15 and more employees the latter have a right of transition from fulltime to part-time. In the context of equal treatment policy part-timers are liable to
social security contribution and in general their rights are the same as those of fulltimers[ CITATION Eur152 \l 1049 ]. Besides, because of the membership in the
European Union, German labour law is strongly influenced by EU legislation. Nondiscrimination of part-timers, improvement of the quality of part-time work as well as
facilitation of its development on a voluntary basis are key principles enshrined in the
framework agreement on part-time work implemented in Council Directive 97/81/EC
of 15 December 1997.
So far we have considered standard type of part-time. There also exist two
specific versions of German marginal part-time, 'minijobs' and 'midijobs', enshrined
in Social Code Book IV. As we have already discussed in the first chapter of this
work, 'minijobbers' were not liable to taxes and social insurance contributions within
the threshold of 450 Euro/month until 2013 and consequently lacked social
protection. As Eichhorst and Hassel (2015) point out, both employers and employees
were not interested in exceeding this threshold, thus resulting for the former in
reduced labour costs and acting for the latter ''as a strong disincentive to earn or work
more''[CITATION Eic13 \l 1049 ]. Since 2013, however, minijobs as well as midijobs
(with the threshold of 850 Euro/month) statutorily guarantee retirement benefit,
though there is an option not to pay any contributions to retirement, health or
employment security. Employers make a single payment to security
systems[ CITATION Eur152 \l 1049 ].
The major problems of this employment type are low wage far from that to
maintain substantial standard of living; and formal barriers which ''impede the
transition to longer part-time or full-time jobs''22. Eichhorst in his another
collaborative work with Keiser (2006) noticed that the ultimately targeted group of
unemployed or low-skilled23 are rarely involved in these minijobs, but are rather
crowded out by those with regular first job, students, spouses and pensioners (so we
can assume that the first problem is not that acute for them).
Despite specific taxation and insurance at this job, labour law does not treat
such workers differently, ensuring them dismissal protection, collective agreements,
fixed-term contract rules etc.. Knuth (2014), however, underlines that it is only theory
and in practice there is a different state of affairs (particularly, sick pay and leave
entitlement are not secured).
As can be seen from the figure 6, French part-time has not shifted somehow
during the last decades, showing more or less sustainable 12-14% of total
22 Eichhosrt, Marx, & Thode, 2010, p.8.
23 The growth in mimijobs as the sole source of income was registered only in the period immediately after
related Hartz laws, between 2003-2005. [ CITATION Knu14 \l 1049 ].
Figure 6 - Part-time employment to total employment (%)
Figure 7- Share of part-time employment by gender (%)
As we can see from the figure 7 women constitute a majority of part-timers.
Figures 8 and 9 show that such type of employment bears mainly involuntary
character. It has already been discussed that French women tend to prefer work on a
full-time basis, due to developed care provision and modified male breadwinner
Figure 8 - Incidence of involuntary part-time workers (%)
in total employment
in labour force
as % of part-time employment
Figure 9 - Incidence of involuntary part-time workers, women (%)
Share of involuntary
Share of involuntary
part-timers in total
Share of involuntary
part-timers as % of
A minimum working time in this concern of at least 24 hours was introduced in
2014, representing two-thirds of a standard full-time job, thus being rather high. In
this case employer may prefer to hire short-term employees, than those on such stable
part-time. Coquer (2015) point out, however, that social partners' agreements may
require certain exemptions, such as computing total working time in order to allow
employee to hold several part-time jobs or work for another employer.
Moreover, Fagan et al [CITATION Fag14 \n \t \l 1049 ] note that French parttime work is often fixed-term (though can also be open-ended) with ''atypical, late
shedules''24 (probably, meaning unsociable working hours) and insecure employment
conditions. They also refer to Ulrich and Zilberman who differentiated six categories
of French part-timers, ranging from mothers working four days a week, to young
people with less regular hours in low-skilled and less secure employment.
Table 2 - Typical categories of part-time work in France
Part-time work to 31
Long and regular hours (4 days a week, ~30hrs)*
with no unsociable hours, typically in public
sector, administration and banks. Usually with
Part-time work in 19
two children, aged 30-49 years.
Long but irregular hours (4 days a week,
~30hrs), often at weekend or evenings, typically
in public hospitals. Usually younger workers in
Short hours, typically in services to households
jobs with regular
such as cleaning. Usually older workers without
hours in services
children and non-working partner.
Working 5-6 days per week, medium to long
based on having
hours (21-30hrs),often involving both Saturday
and Sunday. Often low-skilled work. Usually
Short hours work (less than 18 hours) based on a
limited number of days (3 or less) involving
unsociable working times. Usually younger
workers 15-29 years living in parental home,
Short hours work (18-21 hours) based on a 5-day
24 Fagan et al, 2014, p.36
week and not involving unsociable working
hours. In sectors such as public administration,
health, manual work and health promotion.
Usually younger workers 15-29 years living with
parents, often men.
Note: * the four-day school week in France has allowed women to work four longer days, but also
required them to take care of their children on Wednesdays or find other alternatives.
Source: Fagan et al 2014.
Those hired for a few hours a day (a kind of marginal employment) in France
are similar to minijobbers in Germany. As we have discussed earlier, part-time work
is being promoted in Germany. Similarly, French employees are given the right of
parental leave on a part-time basis, in combination with cash benefits. However,
governments and unions are said (Fagan et al, 2014) to focus more on cutting fulltime working hours than part-time aiming at more equal distribution of paid work
among men and women. Due to this policy together with comprehensive childcare
provision female workers and young mothers in particular, tend to opt for full-time
jobs with shorter hours (ibid.) to avoid underemployment25 how part-time is generally
viewed in France [CITATION Mic \l 1049 ]. OECD analysis showed that French parttimers with short working hours rarely tend to move to full-time jobs. (Fagan et al,
25 It is frequently translated into Russian as «неполная занятость, неполный рабочий день» which is not
that correct in our opinion, since it overlaps with part-time and reflects no negative connotation. So it would be more
appropriate to translate it using secondary variants, such as «работа, не соответствующая квалификации; частичная
Fixed-term employment (temporary work)
The definition of this atypical form was provided in the first chapter.
Temporary employment comprises a whole range of various work arrangements (e.g.,
on-call work, seasonal work) differing in employment conditions, regulatory
protections and entitlements, within one and the same country and even state
sector[ CITATION Qui15 \l 1049 ]. Fixed-term contracts can be concluded for a
period of training (apprenticeships), or probation (to check worker's suitability for the
job); to replace an employee on parental leave or to realize a specific project of fixed
duration [ CITATION Vog13 \l 1049 ]. The Law on Part-time and Fixed-term
Contracts (Teilzeit und Befristungsgesetz, TzBfG) under which temporary
employment is regulated, differentiate two categories of fixed-term contracts: those
with objective justifications and those without. In the latter case fixed-term contracts
are possible up to 2 years or up to 4 years when launching a new business, with
maximum 4 successive contracts (or up to an entire length of 2 years)[ CITATION
OEC151 \l 1049 ].
Figure 10 - Germany: Temporary employment (%)
As we can see from figure 10, the share of fixed-term employment has not
changed much during the last decades, and present around 13% of total employment,
exceeding the international average in this respect (Eichhorst et al, 2010)
Keller and Seifert (2012) find it remarkable that new contracts are fixed-term
in almost half of the cases. It is not surprising and particularly relevant for countries
with stringent employment protection, to which Germany, as well as France refer. In
the wake of labour market reforms of the last decades restrictions on flexible work
forms were softened. Provided non-negligible firing costs on open-ended contracts,
fixed-term contracts were introduced to make hiring easier so that employers could
accomodate short-term peaks in labour demand. Though with time it has become a
separate type of employment (Eichhorst, 2014; Eichhorst et al, 2010).
Table 11 - Fixed-term employment, young people (%)
From the figure above we can see that more than 50% of young people in
Germany are involved in temporary employment, with more than a half of that point
engaged in apprenticeship and vocational training (Eichhorst et al, 2010). For both
the youth and the rest of temporary employers, fixed-term contracts act as extended
probationary period helping employers to identify good matches between workers
and jobs (and workers in their turn have promotion to permanent work in
perspective). Though as with other atypical types of contractual arrangements fixedterm workers, low-skilled in particular, suffer high risks of recurring temporary
employment, German statistical data show that ''job entries based on initial fixed-term
employment are more stable than comparable entries via permanent contracts''
(Eichhorst, 2014, p.6). And famous dual system of vocational training obviously
plays not the last role in the foregoing evidence therefore speaking in favour of
stepping-stone hypothesis of fixed-term work, rather than that of dead-end.
Temporary employment in France is more frequently referred to as fixed-term
work (the CDD, Contract Durée Determinée)26, not to confuse with temporary
agency work. It comprises a range27 of subsidized contracts and traditional temporary
contracts, each having specificities in regulation, e.g., the need to be authorized by
sectoral collective agreements or the right for unemployment benefits. It is mainly
observed in certain industries such as household services, health, education,
agriculture, especially among women, white-collared and unskilled [ CITATION
Mic \l 1049 ].
Figure 12 - France: Temporary employment (%)
26 In contrast to the other of the two main types of contract – open-ended (the CDI, Contract Durée
27 Méhaut (2008) estimated more than 15 various fixed-term contracts.
The general rule in that fixed-term contract is not meant for durable work
related to standard permanent activity of the company, but for specified and
temporary assignment28. This is enshrined in EC directive (the same as for Germany),
which requires objective reasons for such contractual arrangements. However, there
are always abuses like, e.g., concluding seasonal contracts all the year round due to
sequence of seasons [ CITATION Lok10 \l 1049 ]. Statutorily the following valid
cases for entering fixed-term contract are distinguished:
Replacement of a salaried employee;
Replacement of a non-salaried worker;
Temporary increase in workload;
Delay before a new employee can begin employment on an open-ended
Jobs for which the use of fixed-term contracts is common practice
[ CITATION OEC151 \l 1049 ]
If necessary, fixed-term contracts may be renewed (once), by extending the
initial contract and not by concluding a new one. Maximum cumulated duration of
such contracts depends on the reasons, varying from 9 to 24 months but generally 18
Like in Germany, French young people are also mainly found in fixed-term
contacts, which act as a screening device for employers. Méhaut (2008) points out
that around a third of such entries move to open-ended contractual arrangements.
However, the remaining two-thirds end in unemployment, supporting dead-end
hupothesys, which is quite the opposite with Germany, obviously, due to the latter's
famous vocational training.
Temporary agency work
Despite nonstandard tripartite arrangement under labour law this type of
employment can be full-time and permanent [CITATION Sei10 \l 1049 ]. As with the
28 Otherwise (in case of circumvention) employee has a right by the courts to requalify it as an open-ended
contract (INSEE, http://www.insee.fr/en/methodes/default.asp?page=definitions/contrat-trav-duree-determinee.htm)
case of fixed-term work, temporary help agency was intended to overcome staff
shortages and as Bispinck & Schulten (2011) point out, it had been of limited
importance in Germany until Hartz reforms. Since then it primarily serves the
purpose of stabilising the company's profits and putting pressure on permanent staff
Working time and level of pay are stipulated by contract signed by worker and
agency. The client company in which the work is carried out also provides
instructions what work and how is to be done (ibid.).
Figure 13 - Temporary agency employment, men (%)
Source: Bispinck & Schulten, 2011
Figure 14 - Temporary agency employment, women (%)
Source: Bispinck & Schulten, 2011
TAW has increased the incidence in service sector, though is still mainly found
in manufacturing. Most agency workers (around 71%) are male involved in the
metalworking and electrical industry or casual employees in other manufacturing
industries [CITATION Заполнитель1 \t \l 1049 ].
The legal framework for regulating legal temporary agency work aims to
impede abuses in recourse to this employment type. TAW was substantially
deregulated in 2003 (Hartz reforms), allowing no legal limit on assignments,
restrictions not on number of assignments but of TAW renewals (which are then
classified on principles of fixed-term contracts)[ CITATION OEC151 \l 1049 ]. Due
to abuses of agency workers in contrast to comparable employees, equality in pay and
treatment were stipulated as a general principle (if other deviations are not
determined in collective agreements). In sectors with strong influence of trade unions
and works councils, the problems of wage gaps as well as of transition to permanent
employment were successfully managed. In 2015 reregulation of temporary agency
work was announced by the government. Agency work was expected to become more
restricted again with introduction of a maximum assignment period of 18 months and
equal remuneration in the wake of nine months of work with a user company
[CITATION Eic15 \t \l 1049 ]. However, by April, 2016 the law has not been
established with both draft bills being halted. Employers stress the need to avoid any
new administrative burden focusing more on labour market integration of refugees
[ CITATION Kra16 \l 1049 ].
National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) defines
temporary employment (or 'interim', or 'temping') as a three-way relationship where
client companies are provided ''with employees who, in return for an agreed payment,
are employed and paid to that effect by the temporary employment company (or
temping agency)''29. Two contracts are signed:
a labour supply contract (between the temporary employment agency and
the client company);
an assignment contract (between the temporary employment agency and
The French Labour Code prescribes rights and obligations of both the
employers to secure both temp workers ("Intérimaires"31) from a highly diffused
temporary work and permanent employees from unfair competition of the former.
[ CITATION Mic \l 1049 ].
The principle of equal treatment is also high on the agenda. However, it is not
realized in all the cases. Temp workers often suffer from worse conditions,
concerning, e.g., less stable working hours, but they enjoy the same bonuses related
to the job itself (e.g., for danger, meals, etc.). Besides, although temp employees do
not objectively receive seniority bonus (because of short work duration), they are
entitled for specific precariousness bonus (statutorily 10% of the wage if higher
remuneration is not stipulated by collective agreements) (ibid.).
TAW is primarily found in manufacturing (e.g., car and food industries) and
construction. Mostly young men, blue-collared (38.4% of unskilled and 39.4% of
skilled blue collars) are observed in this type of employment (ibid.).
3.3.3. Comparative analysis
To summarize we can distinguish the main convergent and divergent points in
implementation of the three above-mentioned contracts.
We can see striking difference between part-time in Germany and France. In
both cases it is predominantly female. However, whereas in Germany more than 80%
constitute voluntary part-timers, with the last 20% opting for more working hours, it
is just the other way round with France, where part-time is mostly involuntary and
therefore highly discriminating regarding inequalities in wage, career, social security
coverage. That is the reason why this type of employment is viewed as
underemployment. In research studies child care provision is considered the main
reason for such discrepancy: child care provision is more developed in France than in
Germany (where the traditional pattern of male breadwinner predominates at that).
Whereas such French version of marginal employment (short hours of parttime work) is associated with low wages or high risk of becoming unemployed,
German part-time prove to be an effective instrument to overcome crises with
minimum job reduction (and even a sort of job creation).
As to the German specific version of marginal employment, it is expressed in
the well-known mini-jobs. The core dimension here is not the working hours but the
threshold in monthly earnings of 450 EUR above which an employer is already liable
to taxes. As a result this mini-job serves as an incentive to work and earn more. In
some industries like retail, hotels and restaurants mini-jobbers tend to crowd out
permanent stuff, though as a matter of fact minijobs are more frequently occupied not
by the targeted group of unemployed or low-skilled, but by those with regular first
job, students, spouses and pensioners.
Fixed-term employment is marked by a certain period of termination and is
often used as a probation period for internships. In Germany it is a major stepping
stone to permanent employment, whereas in France it can be perceived as dead-end.
Probably this discrepancy in job transition is due to the different training systems.
The German dual vocational training combines off-site general training with
competence-based on-the-job training which provides possession of recognized
occupational qualification. The absence of such system in France leads to employerled on-the-job training with guaranteed position only within the firm. Notably where
workplace apprenticeships exist in France, they generally have a very low reputation
and are treated as a cost rather than an investment. This presumably accounts for low
youth employment rate at 27.8% in contrast to 46.4% in Germany. Thus the burden of
labour market adjustments is disproportionally shifted onto the shoulder of the
youths. It also accounts for different youth unemployment rate: Germany – 7.3%,
France – 24.7% (OECD.Stat, 2015)
Temporary agency employees in both countries save an organisation the
expenses involved in screening, administering and supervising workers. Still in
Germany the incidence of TAW is lower than in France (1.9% and 2.1%
correspondingly. Though similar in often precarious working conditions, German and
French agency workers differ in remuneration, the latter enjoying more equality
through a whole range of bonuses.
In our work we examined atypical employment in Germany and France. Our
main task was to find how and why do certain atypical contractual arrangements
differ in the national contexts of Germany and France. For that we found out the
meaning of 'atypical', gave the list of traditional (part-time, flixed-term, TAW, selfemployment, etc.) and newly emerged (employee sharing, collaborative employment
etc.) forms of nonstandard work. We also discussed in what way 'atypical' relate to
'precarious' coming to the conclusion that atypical is precarious only when the
worker's life is endangered.
To compare the three most widespread atypical types of work we examined the
organisation of employment in both countries. It turned out that though similar in
stringent employment protection which had to be deregulated to cope with
unemployment, the countries differ in particular in female participation due to more
modified male breadwinner model as well as more developed public care provision in
France rather than in Germany. Moreover, entering the labour market through
atypical contracts German young people tend to be given permanent work more often
than French youth, for whom nonstandard jobs act as dead-end due to differences in
training systems. This, obviously, accounts for the current strikes of young people in
France who warn against further deregulation of labour market.
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