The contemporary period has witnessed an increasing emphasis upon flexibility, both in terms of employment practices and the restructuring of welfare regimes in the European Union. In this climate of structural change, previously won national level social rights are perceived to be unsustainable. Policies have been developed at EU level to both embrace, deregulate and re-regulate this emerging flexibility. These include the deregulation of labour markets to encourage flexibility and facilitate job creation, the development of new protective rights for workers such as those contained in the social chapter of the Maastricht Treaty, and an emphasis on modernizing welfare provision along 'active' rather than 'passive' lines (Commission of the European Communities, 1994, 5b). The restructuring of employment and welfare benefits regimes have far-reaching implications for both the content of, and access to social rights. The most effective way to evaluate the implications of flexible restructuring is to examine its impact on the rights of marginalized social groups within the EU.