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A European statute that is adopted by the Council of Ministers and which must be enacted by member states through a national Act of Parliament or an equivalent measure. Directives typically set out a framework of principles and legislative objectives, therefore, which is given greater detail as it is transposed into national law, regulations, or collective agreements. In the employment sphere, there are important directives dealing with health and safety, equal pay, equal opportunity, transfer of undertakings, collective redundancies, atypical work, working time, European works councils, and other arrangements for informing and consulting employees. Under European law, directives have vertical direct effect; that is they can provide the basis for a legal case against an ‘emanation of the state’ but not against a private individual or company. Action of the latter kind can only be initiated on the basis of national law giving effect to a directive. Under the negotiation track, agreed at Maastricht, the content of directives can be negotiated by the social partners.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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