The European Commission has released a legislative package proposing new rules to increase the protection of workers who are temporarily posted abroad. These workers play an important role in filling labour and skill shortages in various sectors and regions, for example in construction, agriculture and transport. Posting also plays an important role in providing specialised, high-skilled services, such as IT.
The current directive on posted workers which was introduced in 1996 in order to establish the minimum rates of pay, holidays, maximum working hours and minimum rest periods, as well as health and safety at work for posted workers. However, these regulations in practice have not been applied or enforced properly in some of the host Member States, particularly in the construction sector. Posting has also been abused by companies artificially establishing themselves abroad, just to benefit from a lower level of labour protection or lower social security contributions.
In response to these issues the Commission has proposed a new enforcement directive to counteract the inadequacies and improve the existing rules of the 1996 directive.
The Commission seeks to:
- Apply better standards to inform workers and companies about their rights and obligations.
- Establish clear rules for cooperation between national authorities in charge of posting.
- Improve the implementation and monitoring of posting to avoid the multiplication of "letter-box" companies that use posting as a way to circumvent employment rules.
- Define the supervisory scope and responsibilities of relevant national authorities.
- Improve the enforcement of workers’ rights, including the introduction of joint and several liability for the construction sector for the wages of posted workers as well as the handling of complaints.
In addition to this, the Commission has also presented a new regulation (Monti II) that takes on board existing case law for rights to strike in a cross-border service job. The proposed Monti II Regulation addresses concerns that economic freedoms would prevail over the right to strike and stresses that there should be no prevalence between the right to take collective action and the freedom to provide services. It also sets out a new alert mechanism for industrial conflicts in cross-border situations with severe implications. In no way does the Regulation affect national legislation on the right to strike, nor would it create obstacles to the right to strike.
The overall aim of both proposals is to boost quality jobs and increase competitiveness in the EU by updating and improving the way the single market works, while safeguarding workers’ rights.
Please note that the Commission has also published an impact assessment in conjunction with their two proposals.
Please click here to see the Commission’s press release for further information.
This update was provided by the CBI British Business Bureau.