EU-REPORT: Reform of the rules on posting of workers (Premium)

By Pierre V. Costa

For the aerosol industries, it is very important to follow the EU regulations and directives. However, experience shows that the European Union will only act where the EU adds value leaving other issues to national and local authorities. The rules on the posting of workers is a good example.

Facts 

In the European Union there are more than two million posted workers working in another EU country. The EU average duration of a posting is less than four months. The number of postings continue to increase: 41% between the years 2010 and 2015.

The “Posting of Workers Directive” is now in place since 1996. Is was the first directive to restrict the possibility for companies to provide services across the “Single Market” by establishing a minimum set of social guarantees in the interest of workers.

The European Commission has now made the fight against social dumping a priority and promoted fair labour mobility throughout the EU. In this context, the European Commission proposed a reform of the current rules on posting of workers, which establishes the principle of equal pay for equal work at the same place, thus going significantly beyond the requirements of minimum remuneration of the existing directive.

The reform includes also other elements, such as:

  • Rules set by universally applicable collective agreements become now mandatory for posted workers in all the economic sectors;
  • Today there are no minimum or maximum limits to the duration of posting. All labour law rules applicable to local workers will apply to posted workers after a certain duration;
  • Today there are no minimum or maximum limits to the duration of posting. Under the new Commission’s proposal, all labour law rules applicable to local workers will apply to posted workers after a certain duration;

New rules would apply to temporary agency workers to also ensure the principle of equal pay for equal work.

 

More powers to national authorities

The European Commission has facilitated the implementation of the so-called “Enforcement Directive”, which entered into force in June 2016. This directive gives more powers to national authorities to combat cases of abuse, such as “letter box companies”, and to coordinate their activities. 

Other Commission initiatives ensuring fair mobility include:

  • modernization of EU rules for the coordination of social security systems;
  • the launch of the electronic system of social security information;
  • the proposal to set up a “European Labour Authority”.

In his 2017 State of the Union, the Commission President declared:

“In an UNION of equals, there can be no second class workers. If you do the same work in the same place, you should earn the same pay”.