Status of collaborating partners in family businesses
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Text adopted by
the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 27
May 2003 (see Doc. 9800,
report of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men,
rapporteur: Mrs Err).
1. In spite of the European Social
Charter and women’s changing role in our society, collaborating
partners in family businesses still have no clearly defined status:
nearly all collaborating partners are women.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly regrets this absence of status,
which means that the work they do is not recognised.
3. Very often, collaborating partners do not have a work contract
and do not receive wages, nor do they necessarily benefit from the
firm’s profits. Moreover, many collaborating partners depend on
the self-employed owner of the business for social security, and
have only derived social rights. Pension rights in their own name are
also not guaranteed for collaborating partners.
4. In these circumstances, collaborating partners who become
pregnant or fall ill cannot take time off without harming the business,
and so many continue to work. When they reach retirement age, they
often receive only a very small pension, if they receive one at
5. Collaborating partners should have access to the training
they require. This would make for easier reintegration on the employment
market, if necessary, and might make family businesses more profitable.
6. The Assembly points out that Recommendations No. R(91)2 of
the Committee of Ministers and 1321 (1997) of the Parliamentary
Assembly contain many proposals on the subjects of social security
for workers without professional status, and on improving the situation
of women in rural society.
7. The Assembly congratulates member states which have passed
laws on collaborating partners, but considers that the problem of
their status has not been solved.
It accordingly calls on the governments of the member states
i ensure that collaborating
partners in family businesses are offered either work contracts
and wages, or a share in the profits of the family business, thus
giving them financial independence;
ii encourage collaborating partners to join social protection
schemes in their own name (possibly as self-employed persons), inform
them of the benefits of such action, and introduce tax incentives;
iii ensure that collaborating partners have the opportunity
or the obligation to earn pension rights in their own name;
iv improve, develop and expand training for collaborating
partners, tackling the problems of the cost of training and the
time needed to follow it;
v reserve part of the estate of deceased self-employed workers
for collaborating partners, and provide for compensatory payments
in cases of divorce or separation;
vi increase the number of collaborating partners in decision-making
bodies (for example, trade associations, chambers of commerce and
industry and other professional organisations), and make it easier
for collaborating partners to be elected to representative positions;
vii establish observatories to survey collaborating partners
and inform them of their rights;
viii consider the status of other family members working in