Update: 12.05.2014

European Social Charter and revised European Social Charter

European Social Charter

Official Text: English 

States, which are members of the European Social Charter of 1961 as well as of the revised European Social Charter of 1996, are only bound by the revised Charter of 1996. The Charter of 1961 ceases to apply to them.

The European Social Charter details the rights and freedoms that concern individuals’ daily lives. The Charter also establishes a supervisory mechanism guaranteeing the respect for these rights and freedoms by states parties. The original charter was signed on 18 October 1961 in Turin and has since been replaced by the 1996 revised European Social Charter, which came into force in 1999 and has gradually replaced the initial 1961 treaty. 

The European Committee of Social Rights is the body responsible for monitoring compliance with the Charter by the state parties. The Committee is composed of 15 independent members elected by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers for a period of six years. 

The Charter covers various issues including the following: 

  • Housing, access to adequate and affordable housing and equal access for non-nationals to social housing and housing benefit;
  • Health, accessible, effective health care facilities for the entire population and protection of maternity;
  • Education, free primary and secondary education and integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schooling;
  • Employment, prohibition of the employment of children under the age of 15 and fair working conditions as regards to pay and working hours;
  • Legal and Social Protection, legal status of the child and prohibition of any form of exploitation (sexual or other);
  • Movement of Persons, the right to family reunion and the right of nationals to leave the country; and
  • Non–Discrimination.

Additional Protocols to the European Social Charter

Revised European Social Charter

Official Text: english

The European Social Charter has developed and has taken account of the vast changes that have occurred throughout Europe since 1961. It has evolved and included new rights such as the right to protection in cases of termination of employment, and rights of workers with family responsibilities to equal opportunities and equal treatment. A system of collective complaints applies for the States which have ratified the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter providing for a system of collective complaints of 1995 or declared by notification, that it accepts the supervision of its obligations under this Charter following the procedure provided for in the said Protocol.

Further Information

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