Posting of workers within the EU, a targeted revision underway
The concept of posted workers covers all workers temporarily employed to provide a defined service in a Member State other than the one in which they regularly work. Directive 96/71 regulates these situations and certain provisions were clarified in Directive 2014/67. These rules intend that employers uphold a series of minimal requirements in the host country (minimum wage, working time, etc.) and pay social contribution charges in the country of origin. These rules, which were adopted prior to successive EU enlargements to new Member States, are regularly subject to debate because they are sidestepped, especially in the form of recourse to increasingly sophisticated structures and operations (P.O. boxes, shell companies, etc.), which opens the door to social dumping.
The implementation directive targeted fraud. The proposal for a targeted revision attempts to introduce the idea of ‘equal pay for equal work,’ as promised by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Without quoting the principle from the official text, the new text establishes that all the wage structure related rules, be they set by law or via universally applicable collective agreement, should apply equally to posted workers. The new text replaces the reference to ‘minimum wage levels’ with ‘remuneration.”
The proposal also fills gaps in the base Directive such as the absence of a maximum period for the posting of workers and the lack of reference to interim workers. The new revisions intends that a worker can only be posted for a maximum of 24 months as provided for in Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems. It also puts forward the principle that posted interim workers also receive equal treatment (the 1996 Directive leaves this decision to each Member State). Finally, it allows the Member States to implement legislation requiring that businesses only sub-contract to companies that respect certain conditions (notably those collective agreements that are not generally applied, and which because of this do not come into the category of rules that normally apply to posted workers).