Stepping up the enforcement of EU legislation on the posting of workers
Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services
Directive 2014/67/EU on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services
Directive (EU) 2020/1057 laying down specific rules with respect to Directive 96/71/EC and Directive 2014/67/EU for posting drivers in the road transport sector and amending Directive 2006/22/EC as regards enforcement requirements and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVES?
Directive 96/71/EC draws up a list of working conditions which workers who are temporarily posted abroad by their employer must be granted in the country to which they are posted (host country). Its purpose is to guarantee the protection of workers as well as provide a level playing field for service providers.
Directive 2014/67/EU aims to improve the implementation and enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC. It addresses issues such as abuse and circumvention of posting rules, joint liability in subcontracting chains and sharing of information between EU countries.
Amending Directive (EU) 2018/957 updates and amends Directive 96/71/EC. It lays down rules regarding working conditions and the protection of posted workers’ health and safety, and seeks to ensure fair wages and a level playing field between posting and local companies in the host country, whilst maintaining the principle of free movement of services.
Directive (EU) 2020/1057 lays down specific rules for posting of professional drivers in the commercial road transport sector and for the effective enforcement of these rules. The directive provides the rules that are better adapted to the highly mobile nature of work in the road transport sector. It aims to remove discrepancies between EU countries’ interpretation, application and enforcement of the rules on the posting of workers in the road transport sector. It is designed to make the road transport sector fair, efficient and socially accountable, whilst at the same time offering greater legal certainty, easing the administrative burden for transport operators and preventing distortions in competition.
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 they normally work.
To protect posted workers’ rights 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, monitoring and sanctioning of any abuse of the applicable rules
To help fight abuse and circumvention of the rules (for example, via letter-box companies*), Directive 2014/67/EU contains a list of factual elements to help assess whether a specific situation qualifies as a genuine posting.
For greater legal certainty, Directive 2014/67/EU lays down a list of national control measures that are considered justified and proportionate and that may be applied in order to monitor the compliance of Directive 96/71/EC and the enforcement directive (Directive 2014/67/EU) itself.
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. Instead of these liability rules, EU countries may take other appropriate enforcement measures.
Improved access to information
To increase awareness and transparency, EU countries are obliged to make available and free of charge any information on the terms and conditions of employment and on collective agreements applicable to posted workers via a single official national website. The information must be made public in the official language(s) of the host country and in the most relevant languages, taking into account demand 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. The Internal Market Information (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.
Directive 2014/67/EU 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.
Amending Directive (EU) 2018/957
Amending Directive (EU) 2018/957 introduces a number of new rules:
the same rules regarding remuneration apply to posted workers as to local workers in the host country;
a worker will be considered to be posted long term after 12 months (with the possibility of a 6-month extension subject to a motivated notification by the service provider), after which the posted worker will be subject to nearly all aspects of the labour law of the host country;
the number of potential collective agreements that may apply in EU countries having a system for declaring collective agreements or arbitration awards of universal application may be increased;
temporary work agencies must guarantee posted workers the same terms and conditions that apply to temporary workers hired in the country where the work is carried out;
improved cooperation between EU countries’ authorities regarding abuse and circumvention of rules in the context of posting.
Directive (EU) 2020/1057
Among the changes introduced by Directive (EU) 2020/1057 are:
an exception from the general posting rules applying to cabotage and international transport operations, with the exception of transit, ‘bilateral transport operations’ (both in goods and passenger transport) and bilateral operations with 2 additional carriage-related stops — this exception is restricted to cases where a service contract exists between the employer sending the driver and a party operating in the host EU country;
administrative rules relating to posting of drivers, control and enforcement — hauliers must use the IMI system to send posting declarations and any requested information;
penalties in the event of infringements;
‘smart enforcement’, which requires EU countries to integrate the control of posting rules into an overall control strategy;
rules ensuring that strengthening posting rules for EU drivers does not result in a competitive advantage for non-EU operators having access to the EU road transport market.
FROM WHEN DO THE DIRECTIVES APPLY?
Directive 96/71/EC has applied since 10 February 1997 and had to become law in the EU countries by 16 December 1999.
Directive 2014/67/EU has applied since 17 June 2014 and had to become law in the EU countries by 18 June 2016.
Amending Directive (EU) 2018/957 had to become law in the EU countries by 30 July 2020. However, it will only apply to the road transport sector from the date of application of a legislative act that has been adopted to amend Directives 2006/22/EC and 2014/67/EU concerning the posting of drivers in the road transport sector. This is Directive (EU) 2020/1057, which will apply from 2 February 2022.
Directive (EU) 2020/1057 has to become law in the EU countries by 2 February 2022.
For more information, see:
companies that have been set up with the purpose of benefiting from legislative loopholes while not themselves providing any service to clients, but rather provide a front for services provided by their owners (European Commission in COM(2013) 122 final
Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (OJ L 18, 21.1.1997, pp. 1-6)
Successive amendments to Directive 96/71/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 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’) (OJ L 159, 28.5.2014, pp. 11-31)
Directive (EU) 2020/1057 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2020 laying down specific rules with respect to Directive 96/71/EC and Directive 2014/67/EU for posting drivers in the road transport sector and amending Directive 2006/22/EC as regards enforcement requirements and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (OJ L 249, 31.7.2020, pp. 49-65)
Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2020 amending Regulations (EC) No 1071/2009, (EC) No 1072/2009 and (EU) No 1024/2012 with a view to adapting them to developments in the road transport sector (OJ L 249, 31.7.2020, pp. 17-32)
Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information system and repealing Commission Decision 2008/49/EC (‘the IMI regulation’) (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, pp. 1-11)
See consolidated version.
Directive 2006/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on minimum conditions for the implementation of Council Regulations (EEC) No 3820/85 and (EEC) No 3821/85 concerning social legislation relating to road transport activities and repealing Council Directive 88/599/EEC (OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, pp. 35-44)
See consolidated version.
last update 13.10.2020