Posted workers: better protection and fair conditions for all
- Posted workers to get equal pay for equal work in the same workplace
- All of the host country’s labour rules apply for postings longer than 24 months
- Equal treatment also for posted temporary agency workers
Workers posted in another EU country have to get the same remuneration, including bonuses, as local workers.
New draft rules to ensure that posted workers are better protected and fair competition for companies were adopted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee with 32 votes to 8 and 13 abstentions on Monday.
The main changes agreed by MEPs concern remuneration, duration of the posting and temporary agencies.
Making pay fairer
- All of the host country’s rules on remuneration, set by law or collective agreements, should apply to posted workers.
- Member states should be obliged to publish all elements of their national remuneration policy, as well as information on collective agreements, on a special website.
Improving workers’ conditions
- Travel and accommodation costs must be reimbursed or be part of the wage.
- Hosting member states could opt to apply regional or sectorial collective agreements, instead of national ones, if they offer more favourable conditions for posted workers.
- If the posting is longer than 24 months, all of the host country’s labour conditions would apply to posted workers.
- 24-month limit can be extended if a company needs more time to complete the service it was required to provide.
Temporary work agencies and subcontracting
- To prevent “chain postings”, aimed at circumventing obligations, the new rules would also apply to posted workers sent by a temporary agency from another member state.
- Member states may oblige the subcontractor to pay their posted workers the same amount as the main contractor.
International road transport
International road transport will be dealt with by sector-specific legislation, included in the Mobility Package. Until that has been adopted, and to prevent legal loopholes, the posting of workers’ directive remains applicable to road transport.
Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP, FR) said: “The agreement we have is politically clear: improve the protection of workers and ensure a level playing field for companies in the internal market. Today the Parliament has shown once again that it will always respond to national divisions with European political strength and unity. Now it is time for the Council to step forward: no one can afford to hang about while we are building up a Social Europe!”
Agnes Jongerius (S&D, NL) said: “This is an important step to create a social Europe that protects workers and makes sure there is fair competition. With this proposal we will fight inequality and take good care of workers. Collective agreements which benefit local workers must also apply to posted workers in the future. We must stop the race to the bottom in the European labour market, to reach the goal of equal pay for equal work at the same workplace.”
The full House is expected to vote on this draft mandate to enter into informal negotiations with the Council at the next week’s plenary session. EU Ministers (Council) have yet to adopt their position.
Posting occurs when services are provided across borders. Posted workers have an employment contract in their home country, but are sent by their employer temporarily to another member state to carry out a task.
The growth of the single market has led to increased wage differences, thereby creating incentives for posting. Posted workers often earn considerably less than local workers, which can lead to unfair competition between posting and domestic companies, social dumping and exploitation of posted workers.
- 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 2015 there were 2.05 million posted workers in the EU. Posting has increased by 41,3% between 2010 and 2015.
- Poland, Germany and France send the highest number of posted workers, while Germany, France and Belgium receive the highest number of posted workers.
- More than half of the postings occur between neighbouring member states, with an average duration of 98 days.
- Posting is particularly frequent in key sectors, such as the construction sector, the manufacturing industry, education, health and social services and business services.