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Stepping up the enforcement of EU legislation on the posting of workers

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Stepping up the enforcement of EU legislation on the posting of workers

The aim of the Enforcement Directive (Directive 2014/67/EU) is to improve the implementation and application in practice of the Directive on the posting of workers (Directive 96/71/EC), thereby guaranteeing better protection of posted workers and a more transparent and predictable legal framework for service providers.

ACT

Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (the IMI Regulation) [Official Journal L 159 of 28.5.2014].

SUMMARY

Directive 96/71/EC applies to undertakings which, in the context of the transnational provision of services, post workers to the territory of an EU country provided that there is an employment relationship between the undertaking making the posting and the worker during the period of the posting. A posted worker is a worker who, for a limited period, works in the territory of an EU country other than the one in which he/she normally works.

To protect the social rights of posted workers when companies use the freedom to provide services and to facilitate the exercise of that freedom, Directive 96/71/EC contains core employment conditions that must be applied to posted workers in the host country, such as:

  • maximum work periods and minimum rest periods;
  • minimum paid annual holidays;
  • applicable minimum rates of pay, including overtime rates;
  • health, safety and hygiene at work.

Better prevention and sanctioning of any abuse of the applicable rules

To help fight abuse and circumvention of the rules (e.g. via so-called letter-box companies), Directive 2014/67/EU contains a list of factual elements to help the assessment of whether a specific situation qualifies as a genuine posting (Article 4).

For greater legal certainty, the Directive lays down a list of national control measures that are considered justified and proportionate and which may be applied in order to monitor the compliance of Directive 96/71/EC and the Enforcement Directive itself (Article 9),

To increase the protection of workers’ rights in subcontracting chains, EU countries must ensure that posted workers in the construction sector can hold the contractor in a direct subcontractor relationship liable for any outstanding net remuneration corresponding to the minimum rates of pay, in addition to or in place of the employer (Article 12). Instead of such liability rules, Member States may take other appropriate enforcement measures.

Improved access to information

To raise awareness and increase transparency, EU countries are obliged to make information on the terms and conditions of employment and on collective agreements applicable to posted workers available free of charge via a single official national website (Article 5). The information must be made public in the official language(s) of the host country and in the most relevant languages taking into account demands in its labour market.

Enhanced administrative cooperation

Directive 2014/67/EU also includes clearer rules to improve administrative cooperation between national authorities in charge of monitoring compliance, including time limits for the supply of information (Article 6). In the event of any persisting problems in the exchange of information or a permanent refusal to supply information, the Commission may be informed via the Internal Market Information (IMI) system. The IMI Regulation comes into play here. The IMI system is a multilingual electronic tool that allows national, regional and local authorities to communicate quickly and easily with their counterparts in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway about EU internal market law. The Directive also ensures that administrative penalties and fines imposed on service providers for failure to respect the applicable rules in one EU country can be enforced and recovered in another (chapter VI).

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 96/71/EC

10.2.1997

16.12.1999

OJ L 18 of 21.1.1997

Directive 2014/67/EU

17.6.2014

18.6.2016

OJ L 159, 28.5.2014

RELATED ACTS

Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System and repealing Commission Decision 2008/49/EC (the IMI Regulation) [Official Journal L 316 of 14.11.2012].

Last updated: 09.08.2014

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