Work-related stress has been identified at international, European and national levels as a concern for both employers and workers. Having identified the need for specific joint action on this issue and anticipating a Commission consultation on stress, the European social partners included this issue in the work programme of the social dialogue 2003-2005.
Building on the conclusions of a joint preparatory seminar (25-26 February 2003 – Brussels); the negotiations started on 18 September 2003 and finished on 27 May 2004, in accordance with the 9 months period that the Treaty leaves to the European social partners to negotiate (Art. 138(4) EC Treaty).
ETUC, UNICE/UEAPME and CEEP then signed this framework agreement on 8 October 2004 after approval by the respective decision-making bodies of these organisations.
The aim of the present agreement is to increase the awareness and understanding of employers, workers and their representatives of work-related stress, draw their attention to signs that could indicate problems of work-related stress.
The objective of the agreement is to provide employers and workers with a framework to identify and prevent or manage problems of work-related stress. It is not about attaching blame to the individual for stress.
Joint implementation reports
The joint implementation reports, as well as the final implementation report can be found below.
ETUC Interpretation Guide
This interpretation guide (available below) provides an overview on the content of the agreement, chapter by chapter, focusing on the main issues at stake and that were subject to discussions throughout the negotiations. Furthermore, this guide provides:
1) an overview of the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC and its “individual” Directives (Annex 1)
2) an analysis of some EU legislation and case law proving that stress at work is covered by them (Annex 2)
3) a non-exhaustive list of potential “stressors” (Annex 3)
4) some examples of methods for screening the prevalence of stress at the workplace (Annex 4).
It is intended to support the ETUC member organisations in the implementation of the content of this agreement and to allow a better monitoring and evaluation of the results achieved.