Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 08/03/2016

The Commission presents reform of posting of workers – towards a fair and truly European Labour Market

Today the European Commission is presenting a targeted revision of the rules on posting of workers, as set out in the 2016 Commission work programme.

The aim of this proposal is to facilitate the provision of services across borders within a climate of fair competition and respect for the rights of posted workers, who are employed in one Member State and sent to work temporarily in another by their employer. More specifically, the initiative aims at ensuring fair wage conditions and a level playing field between posting and local companies in the host country.

The Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "I have said from day one of my mandate that we need to facilitate labour mobility, but that it needs to work in a fair way. Today's proposal will create a legal framework for posting that is clear, fair and easy to enforce."

The targeted revision will introduce changes in three areas:

  • remuneration of posted workers,
  • rules on temporary work agencies
  • long-term posting

The proposal foresees that posted workers are subject to equal pay and working conditions as local workers. This will be done in full respect of the way these rules are set by the Member State in question. Currently, posted workers are already subject to the same rules as host Member State employees in certain fields, such as health and safety.

However, the employer is not obliged to pay a posted worker more than the minimum rate of pay set by the host country. This can create wage differences between posted and local workers and potentially lead to unfair competition between companies. This means that posted workers are often remunerated less than other workers for the same job.

From now on, all the rules on remuneration that are applied generally to local workers will also have to be granted to posted workers. Remuneration will not only include the minimum rates of pay, but also other elements such as bonuses or allowances where applicable.

Member States will be required to specify in a transparent way the different elements of how remuneration is composed on their territory. Rules set by law or universally applicable collective agreements become mandatory for posted workers in all economic sectors. The proposal also gives the possibility to Member States to provide that subcontractors need to grant their workers the same pay as the main contractor. Nevertheless this can only be done in a non-discriminatory way: the same rule must apply to national and cross-border subcontractors.

The proposal will also ensure that national rules on temporary agency work apply when agencies established abroad post workers.

Finally, if the duration of posting exceeds 24 months, the labour law conditions of the host Member States will have to be applied, where this is favourable to the posted worker.

These changes will provide

  • better protection for workers,
  • more transparency and legal certainty
  • ensure a level playing field between domestic and posting firms while in full respect of Member States' wage-bargaining systems.

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