Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

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, in the context of a contract of services, an intra-group posting or a hiring out rhrough a temporary agency.

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 only temporarily and do not integrate 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 ensure a level-playing field and 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 subject to the law of that Member State, they are entitled 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, the Directive does not apply whenever the working conditions applicable to the worker in accordance with the rules of the sending Member State are more favourable thand would result from the application of the Directive.

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 figures on posting of workers

These country fiches contain key data on the employment numbers, trends and sectors in each EU Member State.

Posting of Workers and Enforcement Directive

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

  • fraud,
  • circumvention of rules,
  • inspections and monitoring
  • joint liability in subcontracting chains
  • exchange of information between the Member States.

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. The Commission proposal was adopted on 28 June 2018.

The main changes introduced by the revised Directive are as follows:

  • application to posted workers of all the mandatory elements of remuneration (instead of the “minimum rates of pay”);
  • application to posted workers of the rules of the receiving Member State on workers’ accommodation and allowances or reimbursement of expenses during the posting assignment;
  • for long-term postings (longer than 12 or 18 months), application of an extended set of terms and conditions of employment of the receiving Member State;

The Directive must be transposed into national laws by 30 July 2020 and cannot be applied before that date.

For the road transport sector, the rules of the revised Directive apply only from the date of application of the sector-specific rules proposed by the Commission (the so-called “lex specialis”) and under discussion between the European Parliament and the Council. Until that date, the rules of the 1996 Posting of Workers Directive remain applicable to the sector.

Rules on social security for posted workers

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.

Member States’ single national websites on posting

Want to know about concrete terms and conditions of employment applicable to posted workers as well as employers obligations in the receiving Member State? Then take a look at Member States’ special websites on posting.

Single national websites on posting

Member States’ national liaison offices and competent auhtorities

Want to know more about posting conditions? Contact national liaison offices:

National liaison offices and authorities

Legal background

  • Directive 2018/957/EU amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services
  • 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  

Studies

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