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Document 32014L0036

Employment as seasonal workers

The European Union (EU) has adopted a law (directive) setting out the conditions for non-EU citizens wishing to work in its member countries for short periods as seasonal workers, often in agriculture and tourism. It includes rights to ensure that these workers are not exploited during their stay.

ACT

Directive 2014/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers.

SUMMARY

In view of the EU’s ageing population and low birth rate, the Stockholm programme recognises that while labour immigration can help boost economic growth, flexible policies are needed to manage migration flows. For this reason, EU countries have agreed a law on seasonal migration.

Scope

The law applies to non-EU workers whose principal place of residence is in a non-EU country and who enter an EU country to work there temporarily.

Sectors

Each EU country must draw up a list of sectors that are dependent on seasonal conditions (for example, summer tourism and harvesting of certain crops). They must submit this list to the European Commission.

Admission conditions

To be admitted to work in the EU, workers must ensure their permit applications include a work contract or a binding job offer specifying pay, working hours and other conditions. Evidence of adequate lodging is also needed.

Length of stay

EU countries must fix a maximum stay for seasonal workers of between 5 and 9 months in any 12-month period.

Once in the EU, workers are entitled to extend their work contract or change employer, provided they meet the entry conditions and no grounds for refusal apply. Within the maximum permitted stay, EU countries may allow workers to extend their contract with the same employer more than once, as well as to have contracts with more than one employer.

Equal treatment

Seasonal workers have the right to equal treatment with nationals of the host country as regards terms of employment, such as the minimum working age, working conditions (such as pay and dismissal, working hours, leave and holidays) and health and safety regulations. This equal treatment also applies to branches of social security (benefits linked to sickness, invalidity and old age), training, advice on seasonal work offered by employment offices and other public services, except for public housing.

However, EU countries do not have to apply equal treatment with regard to unemployment and family benefits and can limit equal treatment on tax benefits, education and vocational training.

Sanctions and preventing abuse

EU countries must introduce measures to prevent possible abuses and sanctions where abuses arise. They must also set in place mechanisms to deal with complaints against employers.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2014/36/EU

29.3.2014

30.9.2016

OJ L 94 of 28.3.2014

30.06.2014

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