European Commission sticks to controversial revision of Posting of Workers Directive
The European Commission wishes to introduce further regulation of the posting of workers to other EU countries – despite protests from business and many Member States. This was announced by EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen on 20 July. The European Commission’s intention is that the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive should apply the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work at the same place of employment’ more rigorously. However, VDMA fears it will cause legal uncertainty and more bureaucracy for posting of workers, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, thus leading to restriction of freedom to provide services.
The European Commission’s plans include:
- For workers posted to EU Member States with higher wage levels, to no longer take into account the minimum wage rates in the host country, but to include all components of pay provided for by the Member States in legislation or in universally applicable collective labour agreements.
- To apply all the working conditions and rules of the host country from the very first day of postings that last longer than two years. This second proposal also covers shorter postings if they were originally planned to last more than two years.
“These proposals will generate considerable extra bureaucratic costs,” said Christian Steinberger, Head of VDMA’s Legal Department, about the Commission proposal. “Especially for small and medium-sized engineering firms, which do not have a human resources department or only a very small one, every worker posting will involve considerable legal uncertainty. For every assignment, there would have to be detailed checks about which parts of labour law and the legal provisions about pay and collective labour agreements would have to be applied in the host country. Small and medium-sized enterprises may be deterred from posting workers, which would constitute a clear restriction of freedom to provide services.”
The decision by Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen to stick with the proposal was preceded by a call by eleven national parliaments – mainly from Eastern European Member States to review the proposed revision from the viewpoint of a potential breach of the subsidiarity principle. According to Article 153 paragraph 5 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, labour wages are specifically excluded from the EU’s role in the area of employment policy, which is to support and complement the work of the Member States.
The Commission’s revision proposal can be accessed online.
Source of the image : Kessler