Commission to boost protection for posted workers
The European Commission has put forward new proposals intended to improve the position of workers temporarily posted abroad by their employer.
The proposals will be contained in an enforcement Directive aimed at increasing monitoring and compliance and improving the way in which existing rules on posted workers are applied in practice. The hope is that this will ensure a level playing field between the businesses involved.
With the intention of sending a strong message that workers' rights and their freedom to strike are on an equal footing with the freedom to provide services the Commission has also put forward a new regulation that takes on board existing case law. This is seen as especially relevant in the context of cross-border services provision like the posting of workers.
The overall aim of both proposals is to boost quality jobs and increase competitiveness in the EU by updating and improving the way the single market works, while safeguarding workers’ rights.
“Temporarily posting workers should be a win-win for EU labour markets and for businesses, but it cannot be used as a way to sidestep minimum social standards.” said László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.
The proposed Enforcement Directive relates to the 1996 Directive on the posting of workers, without changing its provisions. In particular, the Enforcement Directive would:
* set more ambitious standards to inform workers and companies about their rights and obligations;
* establish clear rules for cooperation between national authorities in charge of posting;
* provide elements to improve the implementation and monitoring of the notion of posting to avoid the multiplication of "letter-box" companies that use posting as a way to circumvent employment rules;
* define the supervisory scope and responsibilities of relevant national authorities;
* improve the enforcement of workers’ rights, including the introduction of joint and several liability for the construction sector for the wages of posted workers as well as the handling of complaints.
The proposed Regulation addresses concerns that, in the single market, economic freedoms would prevail over the right to strike, stressing that there is no primacy between the right to take collective action and the freedom to provide services. In no way does the Regulation affect national legislation on the right to strike, nor would it create obstacles to the right to strike.