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) 2018/957 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services
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 the 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.
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 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 so-called letter-box companies), Directive 2014/67/EU contains a list of factual elements to help the assessment of 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 which 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 information on the terms and conditions of employment and on collective agreements applicable to posted workers available free of charge 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 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 this period, 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 which 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.
Application & Background
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 has to become law in the EU countries by 30 July 2020 from when it will apply. However, it will only apply to the road transport sector from the date of application of a legislative act which will need to be adopted to amend Directives 2006/22/EC and 2014/67/EU concerning the posting of drivers in the road transport sector.
For more information, see:
Posted workers (European Commission).
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) 2018/957 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 June 2018 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (OJ L 173, 9.7.2018, pp. 16-24)
Corrigendum to Directive (EU) 2018/957 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 June 2018 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (OJ L 91, 29.3.2019, p. 77)
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)
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)