Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Transparent and predictable working conditions

What is Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions about?

Directive 2019/1152 on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions  provides more extensive and modernised rights for all workers in the EU, particularly addressing insufficient protection for workers in more precarious jobs, while limiting the burden on employers and maintaining flexibility to adapt to a changing labour market.

The Directive contributes to the implementation of several principles in  the European Pillar of Social Rights, turning them into a concrete reality for millions of workers in the EU. This notably concerns principle 5 on secure and adaptable employment and principle 7 on information about employment conditions.   

By 1 August 2022, Member States must have transposed the Directive into national law.

What rights does the Directive guarantee?

All workers in the EU will have the right to:

  • more complete information on the essential aspects of their work, to be received early and in writing,
  • a limit to the length of probationary periods at the beginning of the job to six months,
  • take up another job with another employer, any restrictions to this right need to be justified on objective grounds,
  • be informed within a reasonable period in advance when work will have to be done – especially for workers with unpredictable working schedules and  on-demand work,
  • effective measures that prevent abuse of zero-hour contract work, meaning work contracts without a fixed amount of working hours,
  • receive a written reply to a request for transfer to another more secure job, and
  • receive cost-free mandatory training related to the job where the employer has a duty to provide this.

The Directive ensures that these rights cover 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 can effectively benefit from these rights.

Who is set to benefit from these more extensive and updated working rights?

Both employees and employers across the EU will benefit.

The Directive creates more extensive and modernised rights to ensure more transparent and predictable working conditions for all 182 million workers in Europe. It will also help combat insufficient protection for workers in the most flexible non-standard and new forms of work. This means that 2 to 3 million additional workers, who were often excluded until now, will now be protected. They include:

  • domestic workers, i.e., workers who perform work in or for a private household,
  • people not working full-time on open-ended contracts or on very short contracts, and
  • workers in new forms of employment, such as on-demand workers, voucher-based workers and platform workers.

At the same time, the new rules will also benefit employers by:

  • ensuring worker protection remains in line with the latest developments in labour markets (e.g. on-demand work),
  • reducing administrative obstacles, for instance by making it possible to provide information electronically,
  • creating a level-playing field and fairer competition with minimum protective standards for workers across the EU,and
  • providing more transparent and predictable working conditions, which are important for a motivated and productive workforce.

When will the current rules change? Are there exceptions?

All EU Member States must have transposed the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions into national law by now. As of 1 August 2022, employers must ensure that employment contracts with people working more than three hours per week over a four week period (i.e. over 12 hours per month) comply with the new rules.

Member States may decide to apply some limited exceptions where this is justified based on objective circumstances. For instance, certain groups of workers may be excluded from some of the provisions, such as civil servants, armed forces, emergency services or law enforcement services.

What can workers do if their employment contracts are not in line with the new rules?

As of 1 August 2022, the rights set out in the Directive must be part of each Member State’s national law. It is for Member States, including their judicial authorities, to ensure that workers’ rights are effectively respected and protected in accordance with their national legislation and international human rights obligations. Where workers believe their rights have been breached, they should seek redress at the national level through the competent national authorities, such as labour courts or through an ombudsman.

What is the origin of this Directive?

The Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions is the result of   the revision of the Written Statement Directive 91/533/EEC. This Directive that had been in place since 1991, gave workers 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 did not receive a written confirmation of their working conditions or did not receive all the information they need in a timely manner.

The Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions replaces the Written Statement Directive. 

Were social partners consulted?

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

The consultation was prompted to seek views on the challenges identified by the Commission and whether social partners wished to launch negotiations for an autonomous agreement to address these challenges.

Since social partners did not enter into negotiations to conclude an agreement at EU level, the Commission made a legislative proposal for an initiative.

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