European Committee of Social Rights

The European Committee of Social Rights is an impartial investigative body working within the Council of Europe. The Committee investigates whether or not the countries that have ratified the European Social Charter or the Revised European Social Charter have adhered to the requirements of the charter. 

Finland is a signatory to the 1961 European Social Charter and the 1996 Revised European Social Charter. In practice, the European Committee of Social Rights monitors implementation with regard to the Revised European Social Charter, although the 1961 European Social Charter is also still in effect in Finland. 

The European Social Charter and the Revised European Social Charter both contain a large number of articles that fall within the purview of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and are related to topics such as occupational health and safety, social security, health, social services, persons with disabilities, children and young people, and the elderly. 

The Committee monitors compliance with the Charter by reviewing annual reports issued by the participating countries on the implementation of the Charter. Collective complaints can also be submitted to the Committee on the basis of the Additional Protocol to the Charter.

The complaint system is aimed at enhancing the enforcement of the rights protected by the Charter. The Additional Protocol on collective complaints provides international employer and employee organisations that meet certain conditions, and international non-governmental organisations, with the right to submit complaints regarding the application of the provisions of the European Social Charter.

Signatories also have the option of recognising the right of other, national non-governmental organisations operating in their jurisdiction to submit complaints.
Finland has granted all non-governmental organisations the right to submit collective complaints to the Committee. 

Collective complaints provide organisations, such as the labour market participants and non-governmental organisations, with the right to submit complaints to the European Committee of Social Rights. An organisation can submit a collective complaint if it believes that the Charter was not sufficiently enforced by a member country that has ratified the protocol concerning complaints. Private individuals cannot submit complaints to the European Committee of Social Rights.

The Committee consists of 15 independent and impartial members who are elected by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers for a term of six years at a time.
 

Jenna Uusitalo, Legal Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, International Affairs Unit (KVY) 0295163152