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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 9 December 2013

Employment: Commission welcomes Council agreement on enforcement of posted workers safeguards

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor has welcomed the 9th December agreement by the EU's Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers on a so-called 'general approach' on the proposal for a Directive on the enforcement of the posting of workers. The Commission presented its proposal in March 2012 (see IP/12/267).

Commissioner László Andor said: "The Commission very much welcomes the general approach agreed by the Council today on new rules to enforce the safeguards against social dumping laid down in the posted workers Directive. There is an urgent need to reinforce the safeguards in EU rules to ensure that posted workers' rights are respected in practice, and to allow European businesses to operate with more legal certainty and transparency. I now urge the European Parliament and the Council to definitively adopt the Directive as soon as possible."

With respect to administrative requirements and national control measures, one of the most important elements of the proposal, the text agreed by Council strikes a balance between the necessity of guaranteeing legal certainty and transparency for service providers, while acknowledging Member States' competence.

With respect to the protection of workers' rights in direct subcontracting relationships, the text agreed by Council recognises the importance of liability of the contractor in this respect, while allowing Member States some flexibility to uphold the necessary appropriate measures, thus respecting the different social models and industrial relations systems existing in EU countries.

Background

The current text, if adopted by the European Parliament and Council, would help to improve the effective implementation, application and enforcement in practice of the existing Posting of Workers Directive (Directive 96/71/EC) which puts in place a number of safeguards to protect the social rights of posted workers and to prevent social dumping. In particular, the Enforcement Directive would:

  1. set more ambitious standards to raise the awareness of workers and companies about their rights and obligations as regards the terms and conditions of employment

  2. establish rules to improve cooperation between national authorities in charge of posting (obligation to respond to requests for assistance from competent authorities of other Member States; a two working day time limit to respond to urgent requests for information and a 25 working day time limit for non-urgent requests)

  3. clarify the definition of posting, in order to avoid the multiplication of "letter-box" companies that do not exercise any genuine economic activity in the Member State of origin but rather use posting to circumvent the law

  4. define Member States responsibilities to verify compliance with the rules laid down in the 1996 Directive (Member States would have to designate specific enforcement authorities responsible for verifying compliance; obligation of Member States where service providers are established to take necessary supervisory and enforcement measures and the inspection measures they should undertake

  5. require posting companies:

  • to designate a contact person for liaison with the enforcement authorities to declare their identity, the number of workers to be posted, the starting and ending dates of the posting and its duration, the address of the workplace and the nature of the services

  • to keep basic documents available such as employment contracts, payslips and time sheets of posted workers

  1. improve the enforcement of rights, and the handling of complaints, by requiring both host and home Member States to ensure posted workers, with the support of trade unions and other interested third parties, can lodge complaints and take legal and/or administrative action against their employers if their rights are not respected

  2. ensure that administrative penalties and fines imposed on service providers by one Member State's enforcement authorities for failure to respect the requirements of the 1996 Directive can be enforced and recovered in another Member State. Sanctions for failure to respect the Directive must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Further information

MEMO/13/1103

Website of DG Employment on the posting of workers

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László Andor's website

Follow @László AndorEU on Twitter

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Cécile Dubois (+32 2 295 18 83)


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