About the project

Project objectives

A proper social protection is a pillar of the European Social Model and can be developed through an effective social dialogue involving the social partners aiming to improve the conditions of the professional self-employed (PSE).

The specific objectives refer to fundamental labour rights, innovative social dialogue and new forms of social security with a gender perspective:

  • to extend social protection schemes delivered by social partners to cover the PSE;
  • to enhance the role of social dialogue by developing a new approach, by adjusting to the needs of the new world of work, such as those of the self-employed;
  • to use social dialogue as a tool to promote social rights, among which right to adequate social protection;
  • ensure social protection coverage is adjusted to gender needs.


The project will last two years, starting from March 2021. Its activities include:

  • preparatory phase: preparation of a feasibility analysis, which will identify the two elements of the social security proposal: target population and benefits to extend; the economic theory of insurance will be followed; the analysis will also include a study on existing social protection schemes delivered by social partners and addressed to the PSE;
  • agreement on a joint opinion on the extension of social protection schemes by an ad-hoc committee;
  • the organisation of national seminars on social protection for the PSE, in Italy, Belgium, Ireland and Malta, which will validate the joint opinion;
  • the preparation of draft pacts on social protection for the PSE;
  • the organisation of a European conference on social dialogue and social protection for the PSE;
  • drafting and approving an implementation roadmap for the extension of social protection for the PSE, which will gather all previous results.

Expected results

The expected results are the following:

1. Extension of social protection

The extension proposal is entrenched in the concept of the European social model as interpreted by social partners and incorporated in the bilateral bodies established under Italian collective agreements.

Bodies providing social protection and managed by the social partners are taken as a benchmark to be extended to the PSE to cover those in need with appropriate benefits.

This expected result is made up by the following intermediate results:

  • agreement on the social security schemes adaptable to the different national contexts;
  • feasibility analysis based on the economic theory of insurance, validation of the extension patterns by the national social partners;
  • implementation roadmap for the social protection of PSE at national level.

2. Social dialogue innovation

Social dialogue is not only a means but also an end in itself, when it represents the permanent communication mechanism affecting social partners’ day-to-day relations as in the case of bilateralism.

The new economic system and the configuration of labour markets brought about by the digital transition, accompanied by major demographic changes, have reshaped the representativeness of social partners and the industrial relations system at large. Hence a new paradigm for social dialogue is needed.

To this end, the social dialogue mechanism set up through the project committee and the national seminars will be innovated by exploring new languages, a new common perspective and new policy measures.

Finally, social protection needs overcome the traditional bilateral or tripartite social dialogue to extend the exchange of information, the consultation and negotiation towards a multilateral approach, involving insurance companies, service providers, public and public actors involved in the provision of welfare, civil society as a whole.

3. Use of gender in insurance pricing

There are significant differences between women and men in their accident risk, morbidity risk and mortality risk. In the case of life insurance and annuities, the gender differentials in premiums or benefits can be explained by differences in the life expectancy of men and women. Owing to their lower mortality risk, women benefit from lower premiums on life insurance.

The project goes beyond traditional risk calculation methods to focus on labour market risks and conciliation roles which should be taken into account in the calculation of premiums and benefits.


Confprofessioni (Italian Confederation of Liberal Professions) is a second-level employers’ association that represents and protects the interests of liberal professionals in Italy. It was established in 1966 with the idea of bringing together in a single representative body the professionals practising regulated professions. Confprofessioni has been a recognised social partner since 1978 and is a signatory party to the National Collective Labour Contract of the employees of the professional practices. Twenty-one national professional associations adhere to Confprofessioni.
The European Council of the Liberal Professions (CEPLIS) is the only inter-professional association bringing together the liberal professionals at European level. Its members are national inter-professional and European mono-professional bodies representative of the professional sector. The purpose of CEPLIS is to promote, at both scientific and cultural level, the exercise of the liberal professions. In this regard, it coordinates and defends the moral, cultural scientific and material interests of the liberal professions.
The Malta Federation of Professional Associations (MFPA) was set up in 1971 by seven founding organisations. Today MFPA comprises 17 professional organisations as full members and other three organisations with partial membership, representing no less than 10.000 professionals in Malta. Among its main objectives: the promotion of professions; the maintenance of professional standards; the promotion of inter-professional relationships; the protection of professional rights and privileges; contribution to the advancement of the interests of society.
EQUAL Ireland is a ‘not for profit’ charitable trust trading as a social enterprise. It was founded in 2000 by SIPTU, Ireland’s largest trade union and IBEC, the main employer representative body in Ireland along with the National University of Ireland and various community representative organisations. EI designs, develops, delivers and manages accredited 3rd level programmes focused on business, social and commercial enterprise, leadership, management and community development and importantly conducting relevant research in relation to these subjects. More specifically EI provides adult learners with the skills necessary to gain employment or self-employment and or contribute to community activation and rural regeneration. EI has got a particular expertise in the recognition of prior Learning (RPL) and in the development of women’s leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
Union nationale des professions libérales (UNAPL, National Union of Liberal Professions) is an employers’ organisation created in 1977. UNAPL is the first organization representing liberal professionals at national level. It merges 69 professional organizations in the fields of health, legal services and technical expertise. It has many regional seats. The UNAPL missions are to defend the moral and material interests of the liberal professions, to promote the practice of the liberal professions, and to represent the sector before public authorities and in social dialogue.
As the European trade union federation for 7 million service workers, UNI Europa speaks for the sectors that constitute the backbone of economic and social life in Europe. It represents 272 national trade unions in 50 countries, including: ICT services, media, private care and social insurance, professionals/managers and temporary agency workers. UNI and its affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure these jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.