Posting of workers: final vote on equal pay and working conditions

Workers Automotie 2018

View of the assembly line of a car factory. © European Communities , 2010 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Romuald Meigneux.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Workers posted temporarily to another EU country must get equal pay for equal work in the same place, under revised rules voted by Parliament on Tuesday.

The revised rules, approved by 456 votes to 147, with 49 abstentions, aim to ensure better protection for posted workers and fair competition for companies.

Ensuring fair pay

Under the agreed text, all of the host country’s remuneration rules must apply to posted workers. In addition to legal provisions, member states may apply large, representative regional or sectoral collective agreements. So far, this has been done only in the construction sector.

Improving workers’ conditions 

Travel, board and accommodation costs will have to be paid by the employer and not deducted from workers’ salaries. Employers will also have to ensure that the accommodation conditions for posted workers are decent, and in line with national rules.

Duration of posting

The duration of the posting has been set at a maximum of 12 months, with a possible extension of 6 months. Thereafter, the worker will still be able to stay on and work in the member state to which he or she is posted, but beyond this, working conditions will be subject to the host country’s labour rules.

Protection against fraud

In the event of a fraudulent posting, e.g. by a letterbox company, member states should cooperate to ensure that posted workers are protected, at least, by the conditions of the Posting of Workers Directive. 

International road transport

The new elements of the revised directive will apply to the transport sector once the sector-specific legislation, included in the Mobility Package, enters into force.  Until then, the 1996 version of the directive remains applicable.

New rules to apply within two years

Member states will have two years to transpose the rules into their national laws, and must put them into effect by the end of this period.

Quotes 

Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP, FR), rapporteur, said “This vote is a cornerstone of the 2014-2019 legislative term. It reflects the social, economic and political reality of the European Union. It sets a clear course towards a more social Europe with a fairer competition between companies and better rights for workers. By voting in favour of this agreement, the European Parliament provides better rights for workers and also ensures the necessary protection with regard to companies.”

Agnes Jongerius (S&D, NL), co-rapporteur, said: “Europe chooses equal pay for equal work at the same place. And that is a major accomplishment.  Colleagues can be colleagues again, rather than competitors. This is an important step towards creating a social Europe that protects workers and stops companies from engaging in a race to the bottom. – a Europe that does not cut corners and that looks out for ordinary, working people.”   

Background

A posted worker is an employee who is sent by his or her employer to perform a service in another EU member state on a temporary basis. In 2016, there were 2.3 million posted workers in the EU. Posting increased by 69% between 2010 and 2016.

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