Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Transparent and predictable working conditions

The new Directive 2019/1152 on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions is a direct follow-up to the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

It will set new rights for all workers, particularly addressing insufficient protection for workers in more precarious jobs, while limiting burdens on employers and maintaining labour market adaptability.

The directive

All workers in the EU will have the right to:

  • more complete information on the essential aspects of the work, to be received early by the worker, in writing,
  • a limit to the length of probationary periods at the beginning of the job,
  • seek additional employment, with a ban on exclusivity clauses and limits on incompatibility clauses,
  • know a reasonable period in advance when work will take place, for workers with very unpredictable working schedules, as in the case if on-demand work,
  • anti-abuse legislation for zero hour contract work,
  • receive a written reply to a request to transfer to another more secure job,
  • receive cost-free the mandatory training that the employer has a duty to provide.

The directive has a broad personal scope of application. It aims to ensure that these rights cover all workers in all forms of work, including those in the most flexible non-standard and new forms of work such as zero-hour contracts, casual work, domestic work, voucher-based work or platform work.

It also comes with targeted provisions on enforcement, to make sure that workers in the workplace effectively benefit from these rights.

The revision of the Written Statement Directive

The Commission's proposal for a Predictable Work Directive stems from the revision of the current Written Statement directive, which has existed since 1991 and gives employees starting a new job the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their employment relationship.

The Commission's REFIT evaluation of the Directive showed that many workers in the EU do not receive a written confirmation of their working conditions or do not receive all the information they need in a timely manner.

Moreover, since 1991 the labour market has changed and new needs have emerged, as shown on the outcome of the consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The new Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions will repeal the current Written Statement Directive. 

Two-stage consultation of the social partners

As required by the EU Treaties, the Commission consulted trade unions and employers’ organisations in a two-stage approach:

to seek their views on the challenges identified by the Commission and whether they wished to launch negotiations for an autonomous agreement to tackle them.

However, the views of the social partners on the need for legislation were mixed. Since they did not enter into negotiations to conclude an agreement at EU level, the initiative passed to the Commission to make a legislative proposal.

The legislative procedure

Both the Parliament and the Council adopted their initial positions in 2018, on the basis of the Commission's proposal.

Following negotiations, a political agreement between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission was reached in February 2019. The provisional agreement has been formally adopted by the European Parliament on 16 April. The Council adopted the proposal on 13 June 2019

Next steps

EU Member States will have until 2022 to transpose the new rules into their national legislation.

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