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Posted workers

What is posting?

A "posted worker" is an employee who is sent by his employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis.

For example, a service provider may win a contract in another country and send his employees there to carry out the contract.

Posted workers are different from EU mobile workers in that they remain in the host Member State temporarily and do not integrate in its labour market.

On the contrary, EU mobile citizens who go to another Member State to seek work and are employed there, are entitled to equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax conditions.

Rights and rules for posted workers

The EU law defines a set of mandatory rules regarding the terms and conditions of employment to be applied to posted workers

  • to guarantee that these rights and working conditions are protected throughout the EU
  • to avoid "social dumping" where foreign service providers can undercut local service providers because their labour standards are lower.

These rules establish that, even though workers posted to another Member State are still employed by the sending company and therefore subject to the law of that Member State, they are entitled by law to a set of core rights in force in the host Member State.

This set of rights consists of:

  •    minimum rates of pay;
  •    maximum work periods and minimum rest periods;
  •    minimum paid annual leave;
  •    the conditions of hiring out workers through temporary work agencies;
  •    health, safety and hygiene at work;
  •   equal treatment between men and women.

However, there is nothing to stop the employer applying working conditions which are more favourable to workers than those of the sending Member State.

The EU law thus provides a clear framework to guarantee fair competition and respect for the posted workers' rights so that both businesses and workers can take full advantage of the internal market opportunities.

The social security of posted workers is regulated through Regulation no 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems. A detailed guide explaining the applicable rules is available. 

National legislation on posting of workers

EU rules are transposed into national legislation. You can find a summary of the legislation in each Member State in English, German and French.

Posting of Workers and Enforcement Directive

The abovementioned rules are defined in the Posting of Workers Directive which was approved in 1996. In 2014 the Enforcement Directive was approved with the aim to strengthen the practical application by addressing issues related to

  • fraud,
  • circumvention of rules,
  • exchange of information between the Member States.

The Enforcement Directive will need to be transposed by the Member States by 18 June 2016.

Revision of the Posting of Workers Directive

On the 8 of March 2016, the European Commission proposed a revision of the rules on posting of workers within the EU to ensure they remain fit for purpose. Until Member States and the European Parliament have agreed on the revision and the new rules have entered into force, the current rules remain in place.

Are you a posted worker?

If you are posted on a short assignment to another EU country, find out more about your social security coverage and other rights and obligations.

Legal background

  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services - COM(2016)128
  • Commission Staff Document: Impact Assessement concerning the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive - SWD(2016)52 Impact Assessment / SWD(2016)53 Impact Assessment Executive Summary
  • Directive on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’) - The Enforcement Directive 2014/67/EU
  • Commission Staff Document: Impact Assessment, Revision of the legislative framework concerning the posting of workers in the context of the provision of services - SWD(2012) 63 - Part I / SWD(2012) 63 Part II / SWD(2012) 64 Executive Summary  

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