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Informing employees of their working conditions

In the European Union (EU), there is a general requirement that each employer must give an employee a document containing the essential elements of the employment contract or of the employment relationship.


Council Directive 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 on an employer’s obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship.



It ensures that employers provide employees with certain essential information, such as:

  • the identity of the parties and the place of work;
  • the nature of the job;
  • the date the contract begins and its duration;
  • the amount of payment;
  • normal working hours;
  • the collective agreements governing the employee’s conditions of work.

The directive does not apply to employees with a contract of less than 1 month or with a working week of fewer than 8 hours.


The employer must give the employee a document containing the information required within 2 months of commencement of employment.

The national laws of each EU country decide whether an employment contract exists and if so, what the terms of that contract are. The definition of the terms ‘employee’, ‘contract’ and ‘employment relationship’ is therefore left to national legislation.

Where an employer requires an employee to work in a different EU country (‘expatriate employee’), he must give that employee the document containing the information required before departure. That document must set out certain additional information, such as the currency of payment and the length of employment. These provisions do not apply where the duration of employment abroad is 1 month or less.

The employer must give the employee a written document within 1 month of any change in circumstances.

The directive does not prevent EU countries from introducing laws that are more favourable to the employee.


From 30 June 1993.


New forms of work have led to an increase in the number of types of employment relationship. The directive seeks to provide employees with improved protection to avoid insecurity about the terms of the employment relationship and to create greater transparency on the labour market.

For more information, see working conditions - individual employment conditions on the European Commission’s website.



Entry into force -

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 91/533/EEC



OJ L 288 of 18.10.1991, pp. 32-35


Council Decision 2014/51/EU of 28 January 2014 authorising Member States to ratify, in the interests of the European Union, the Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers, 2011, of the International Labour Organisation (Convention No 189) (OJ L 32, 1.2.2014, pp. 32-32).

last update 23.07.2015