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Access_open Autonomy in old age

Tijdschrift Family & Law, mei 2019
Auteurs prof. dr. Tineke Abma en dr. Elena Bendien
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Background: In many European countries caring responsibilities are being reallocated to the older people themselves to keep the welfare state affordable. This policy is often legitimized with reference to the ethical principle of autonomy. Older people are expected to be autonomous, have freedom to make their own decisions, and be self-reliant and self-sufficient as long as possible.
    Aim: The purpose of this article is to explore whether and how older people can remain autonomous in order to continue living their lives in accordance with their own values in the context of declining professional caring facilities and shrinking social networks, and which concepts of autonomy can guide professionals and other involved parties in facilitating the choices of older people.
    Method: An empirical-ethical approach is used to interpret the moral values enacted in the caring practice for older people. Two cases are presented. One is the narrative of a woman who lives by herself; she has been hospitalized after a fall and hip fracture, but does not want to be operatied. The second is the narrative of man living in a residential home; he wants to be actively involved, doing good deeds like he always did as a Scout. The cases are evaluated with the help of two concepts of autonomy: autonomy as self-determination and relational autonomy.
    Results: In both cases the enactment of autonomy remains problematic. In the case of the woman there was not enough care at home to live up to her own values. After she was admitted to a hospital her wish not to be operated was questioned but ultimately honoured due to compassionate interference by close relatives and her oncologist. In the second case there was not enough space for the man to lead his life in the way he always had; his plans for improving the social environment in the care home were torpedoed by management and ultimately the man decided to step back.
    Conclusion: In order to do justice to the complexity of each empirical case that involves autonomy of an older person more than one concept of autonomy needs to be applied. Relying on self-determination or relational autonomy exclusively will give professionals and all involved parties a restricted view on the situation, where the wishes of older people are at stake. In both cases autonomy was overruled by system procedures and stereotypical ideas about old people as being weak and not able to make their own decisions. Both cases show, however, that older people - even if they are physically and mentally frail - long to remain morally responsible for the direction their lives are taking, in accordance with their own values. They communicate their wish to determine their own future and at the same time they are interdependent on others to realize their (relational) autonomy and require support in their attempt to maintain their identity. This conclusion has implications for the normative behaviour of the professionals who are involved in care and treatment of older people.
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    Achtergrond: In veel landen wordt de verantwoordelijkheid voor de zorg voor ouderen naar de ouderen zelf verplaatst, dit teneinde de welvaartstaat betaalbaar te houden. Dit beleid wordt veelal gelegitimeerd met referentie naar het ethische principe van autonomie. Oudere mensen worden geacht autonoom te zijn, vrij te zijn om hun eigen beslissingen te nemen, en om zo lang mogelijk zelfredzaam te blijven.
    Doel: Het doel van dit artikel is om te onderzoeken of en hoe oudere mensen autonoom kunnen blijven teneinde hun leven in overeenstemming met hun eigen waarden te kunnen voortzetten in de context van teruglopende professionele zorgactiviteiten en krimpende sociale netwerken, en welke concepten van autonomie zorgprofessionals en andere betrokken partijen kunnen helpen bij het faciliteren van de keuzes door ouderen.
    Methode: Een empirisch-ethische benadering wordt gebuikt om de morele waarden in de zorgpraktijk voor ouderen te interpreteren. Twee casussen worden gepresenteerd. De eerste is het verhaal van een vrouw die op zichzelf woont. Ze is na een val waarbij haar heup is gebroken, in een ziekenhuis opgenomen, maar ze wil niet geopereerd worden. De tweede is het verhaal van een man die in een verzorgingshuis woont. Hij wil actief betrokken worden en goede dingen doen zoals hij die altijd heeft gedaan toen hij padvinder was. Beide verhalen worden met behulp van twee concepten van autonomie geëvalueerd: autonomie als zelfbeschikking en relationele autonomie.
    Resultaat: In beide casussen blijft de verwezenlijking van autonomie problematisch. In het geval van de vrouw was er thuis onvoldoende zorg om volgens haar waarden te kunnen leven. Toen zij in het ziekenhuis was opgenomen werd haar wens om niet te worden geopereerd tegen gehouden, maar uiteindelijk ingewilligd als gevolg van bemoeienis uit hoofde van barmhartigheid door directe verwanten en haar oncoloog. In het tweede geval was er voor de man onvoldoende ruimte om zijn leven te leiden op de manier zoals hij dat altijd had gedaan. Zijn plannen om de sociale omgeving in het verzorgingshuis te verbeteren werden door het management getorpedeerd en uiteindelijk heeft hij zich ervan teruggetrokken.
    Conclusie: Teneinde recht te doen aan de complexiteit van beide casussen die betrekking hebben op de autonomie van een oudere, dient meer dan één concept voor autonomie te worden ingezet. Het vertrouwen in zelfbeschikking of relationele autonomie alleen zal aan de professionals en alle andere betrokken partijen een beperkt zicht geven van de situatie wanneer het de wensen van ouderen betreft. In beide gevallen werd de autonomie ter zijde geschoven door protocollen en stereotypische ideeën over ouderen als kwetsbare personen die niet in staat zouden zijn om zelf hun beslissingen te nemen. Echter tonen beide voorbeelden aan dat ouderen, zelfs als ze fysiek en mentaal kwetsbaar zijn, de wens hebben om moreel verantwoordelijk te blijven voor de richting die hun leven zal nemen, in overeenstemming met hun eigen waarden. Zij geven de wens aan om hun eigen toekomst te bepalen en tegelijkertijd zijn ze onderling afhankelijk van anderen om hun (relationele) autonomie te verwezenlijken, én hebben ze behoefte aan steun bij hun poging om hun identiteit te behouden. Deze conclusie heeft gevolgen voor het normatieve handelen van professionals die bij de zorg en behandeling van ouderen betrokken zijn.


prof. dr. Tineke Abma
Professor dr. Tineke A. Abma is a full professor of Participation and Diversity at the Department of Medical Humanities of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc.

dr. Elena Bendien
Dr. Elena Bendien is a social gerontologist and a senior researcher at the Department of Medical Humanities of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc.

    The Danish Western High Court recently ruled that the Danish Act on Employees’ Rights on Transfers of Undertakings did not apply to two municipalities’ repatriation of home care services after a private-sector service provider went bankrupt.


Christiaan K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.
Law Review

2019/1 EELC’s review of the year 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2019
Auteurs Ruben Houweling, Catherine Barnard, Filip Dorssemont e.a.
Samenvatting

    For the second time, various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Catherine Barnard

Filip Dorssemont

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Francesca Maffei

Niklas Bruun

Anthony Kerr

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Daiva Petrylaite

Andrej Poruban

Stein Evju

    In legal education, criticism is conceived as an academic activity. As lecturers, we expect from students more than just the expression of their opinion; they have to evaluate and criticize a certain practice, building on a sound argumentation and provide suggestions on how to improve this practice. Criticism not only entails a negative judgment but is also constructive since it aims at changing the current state of affairs that it rejects (for some reason or other). In this article, we want to show how we train critical writing in the legal skills course for first-year law students (Juridische vaardigheden) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We start with a general characterization of the skill of critical writing on the basis of four questions: 1. Why should we train critical writing? 2. What does criticism mean in a legal context? 3. How to carry out legal criticism? and 4. How to derive recommendations from the criticism raised? Subsequently, we discuss, as an illustration to the last two questions, the Dutch Urgenda case, which gave rise to a lively debate in the Netherlands on the role of the judge. Finally, we show how we have applied our general understanding of critical writing to our legal skills course. We describe the didactic approach followed and our experiences with it.


Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is Professor of Legal Methodology, Department of Legal Theory and History, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Lyana Francot
Lyana Francot is Associate Professor of Legal Theory, Department of Legal Theory and History, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Pending cases

Case C-274/18, Gender discrimination, Fixed-term work

Minoo Schuch-Ghannadan – v – Medizinische Universität Wien, reference lodged by the Arbeits- und Sozialgericht Wien (Austria) on 23 April 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018

    According to German law, every employee is entitled to paid annual leave. The amount of pay is generally calculated based on the current salary (known as the “principle of loss of pay”) but a reduction of working hours during the year does not lead to a reduction of entitlement to holiday pay for previously acquired holiday entitlements. If the entitlement was already acquired before the reduction of working time (which can happen because in Germany holiday entitlement is acquired at the beginning of the calendar year), pay during leave will be based on the salary agreed between the employer and employee when the holiday entitlement was acquired and thus, based on the ‘old’ salary.


Nina Stephan
Nina-Stephan is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Essen, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney-at-law and partner with Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Essen, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

Zef Even

    A provision of Dutch law, according to which employees who lose their jobs upon retirement are excluded from the right to statutory severance compensation, is not in breach of the Framework Directive.


Peter C. Vas Nunes
Peter Vas Nunes is Of Counsel at BarentsKrans N.V., The Hague, the Netherlands.
Pending cases

Case C-429/18, Fixed-term work

Berta Fernández Álvarez, BMM, TGV, Natalia Fernández Olmos, María Claudia Téllez Barragán –‍ v – Consejería de Sanidad de la Comunidad de Madrid, reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo de Madrid (Spain) on 28 June 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018

    The Danish Supreme Court has held there was no discrimination against four part-time teachers at a university in that they did not receive pension contributions. Their positions could not be compared to those of full-time teachers, who were entitled to pension contributions. However, it did constitute a violation of the Danish rules on fixed-term work that the teachers had, for a number of years, been employed on several fixed-term contracts, as they had, in effect, been continuously employed in the same position. Consequently, the teachers were awarded compensation.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.
Pending cases

Case C-72/18, Fixed-term work

Daniel Ustariz Aróstegui – v – Consejería de Educación del Gobierno de Navarra, reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo No 1 de Pamplona (Spain) on 5 February 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018
Rulings

ECJ 21 November 2018, case C-245/17 (Viejobueno Ibáñez and De la Vara González), Fixed-term work, Paid leave

Pedro Viejobueno Ibáñez, Emilia de la Vara González – v – Consejería de Educación de Castilla-La Mancha, Spanish case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018
Trefwoorden Fixed-term work, Paid leave
Samenvatting

    The sole fact that fixed-term employment relationships terminate, whereas permanent relationships do not, does not constitute discrimination. Nevertheless, fixed-term teachers should receive an allowance in lieu of untaken leave.

Rulings

ECJ 25 October 2018, case C-331/17 (Sciotto), Fixed-term work

Martina Sciotto – v – Fondazione Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Italian case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018
Trefwoorden Fixed-term work
Samenvatting

    The Framework Agreement to protect the misuse of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships precludes legislation, which disapplies rules aimed against such misuse, when there is no other effective penalty.

Pending cases

Case C-44/18, Fixed-term work

Cobra Servicios Auxiliares, S.A. – v – FOGASA, Jesus Valiño Lopez en Incatema, S.L., reference lodged by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Galicia (Spain) on 24 January 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018

    The Finnish Supreme Court has held that an employer discriminated against an employee by not renewing his employment at the end of a fixed-term contract because he was overweight.


Janne Nurminen
Janne Nurminen is a Senior Associate with Roschier, Attorneys Ltd in Helsinki, www.roschier.com.

    For workers without a fixed workplace, travelling time between their place of residence and the first customer and travelling time between the last customer and the place of residence constitutes working time.


Dr. Pieter Pecinovsky
Dr. Pieter Pecinovsky is Of Counsel at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels www.vow.be, Assistant at Leuven University and Invited Professor at Université Catholique de Louvain.

    In a recent decision, the Labour Court awarded an employee € 7,500 for working in excess of 48 hours a week, contrary to working time legislation. The complainant allegedly regularly checked and responded to emails outside of business hours, occasionally after midnight. The Labour Court reiterated it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees are not permitted to work beyond the statutory maximum period and that if an employer is aware that an employee is working excessive hours, must take steps to curtail this.


Lucy O’Neill
Lucy O’Neill is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin, Ireland.
Pending cases

Case C-103/18, Fixed-term work

Domingo Sánchez Ruiz – v – Comunidad de Madrid (Servicio Madrileño de Salud), reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo No 8 de Madrid (Spain) on 13 February 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018
Pending cases

Case C-293/18, Fixed-term work

Sindicato Nacional de CCOO de Galicia – v – Unión General de Trabajadores de Galicia (UGT), Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Confederación Intersindical Gallega, reference lodged by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Galicia (Spain) on 26 April 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2018
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