Social Service Employers Meeting Invitation

Venue: Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Dublin

When: Monday, 26th September 2016, 14.00-17.30pm


Do you know that there is no official European network of employers for our sector?

This means that our sector is excluded from the very EU policy negotiations that affect our organisations, such as:

·         Employment and social issues (for example, the working time directive and maternity leave)

·         Legal frameworks like Public Procurement rules and State Aid

·         European Structural and Investment Funds


This also affects our:

·         Ability to exchange best practices on how to deal with many challenges regarding recruitment and retention of staff, health and safety

·         Ability to negotiate on common agreements regarding topics such as ethical recruitment standards



To change how our sector is represented in European institutions, the Disability Federation of Ireland invites you to join us on this date to explore the national appetite for creating a network of Irish social service employers and trade unions.


RSVP Daniel Deering at the Disability Federation of Ireland

·        By email:

·        By phone: 01 425 0126


Project Explanatory Note

Launched in January 2016, PESSIS III (Promoting Employers Social Services in Social Dialogue) is a two-year European Commission project that aims to create a European network representing employers in the social services sector. The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is one of eleven partners from across Europe in PESSIS III. And we are Ireland’s national coordinator in the project.

Why does this project matter?

The European Union, when considering a new policy proposal in the field of employment and social affairs is obliged to consult with social partners (employer organisations and trade unions). The European Union also creates the framework for employers and trade unions to discuss and negotiate on common agreements (or other forms of documents) cross-sectorally and sectorally. These discussions are known as the European Social Dialogue (ESD). ESD differs to civil dialogue insofar as the European Commission is not obliged to consult civil society representatives. There are over forty ongoing sectoral (e.g. in the agriculture sector) European Social Dialogue committees. Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no European Social Dialogue structure representing the social services sector; PESSIS aims at making sure employers in social services are represented in this way to give the sector a stronger voice at EU level.

This is a problem for the social services sector because the European Union is more likely to discuss social policy with employer representatives than civil society. Official participation in the ESD – as opposed to being a civil society observer with no legally binding European Commission influence - provides recognised representatives with greater opportunities to architect policy towards their areas of interest. In the European Union’s latest growth strategy (EU2020), for example, sectoral social committees – comprising ‘social partners’ of industry, employers and trade unions - had a binding consultation role to play in the framework’s negotiation. There was no legally binding obligation for the Commission to consult with the social services sector (and wider civil society interests) during this process – consultation was entirely voluntary. Official representation in the ESD may help Irish social service employers steer EU policy (including for structural funds and Erasmus funding, and laws such as the working time directive) in their direction.


Second National Capacity Meeting in September and Future Objectives

The DFI is hosting its second next national capacity meeting in the afternoon of the 26th of September in the Disability Federation of Ireland office in Dublin. The first, which was held in February 2016, indicated there was trade union and social services employers’ willingness to participate in a network. The meeting in September will move this conversation forward with employer representatives, without trade union attendance (trade unions will return to the negotiations should a third meeting be arranged).

Depending on the outcomes of the meeting in September, a final national capacity meeting may be held later in 2016. After which, Irish employers in social services may be invited to send a small delegation representing national interests to join us in Brussels to present our work to the European Commission in early 2017.

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