European Interest

MEPs back equal pay, working conditions for posted workers

Flickr/UMP Photos/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“This vote is a cornerstone of the 2014-2019 legislative term,” said Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP, FR), rapporteur.

Good news for posted workers. The European Parliament in Strasbourg on May 29 approved revised rules aimed to ensure better protection.

Under the new rules – approved by 456 votes to 147, with 49 abstentions, all of the host country’s remuneration rules must apply to posted workers. In addition to legal provisions, member states may apply large, representative regional or sectoral collective agreements. So far, this has been done only in the construction sector.

“This vote is a cornerstone of the 2014-2019 legislative term,” said Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP, FR), rapporteur. “It reflects the social, economic and political reality of the European Union. It sets a clear course towards a more social Europe with a fairer competition between companies and better rights for workers. By voting in favour of this agreement, the European Parliament provides better rights for workers and also ensures the necessary protection with regard to companies.”

Posted workers in the EU are defined as employees sent by their employer to carry out a service in another EU member state on a temporary basis. In 2016, there were 2.3m posted workers in the EU. Posting increased by 69% between 2010 and 2016.

According to a European Parliament press release, travel, board and accommodation costs will have to be paid by the employer and not deducted from workers’ salaries. Employers will also have to ensure that the accommodation conditions for posted workers are decent, and in line with national rules.

The duration of the posting has been set at a maximum of 12 months, with a possible extension of six months. Thereafter, the worker will still be able to stay on and work in the member state to which he or she is posted, but beyond this, working conditions will be subject to the host country’s labour rules.

EU member states will have two years to transpose the rules into their national laws, and must put them into effect by the end of this period.

“Europe chooses equal pay for equal work at the same place,” said Agnes Jongerius (S&D, NL), co-rapporteur. “And that is a major accomplishment.  Colleagues can be colleagues again, rather than competitors. This is an important step towards creating a social Europe that protects workers and stops companies from engaging in a race to the bottom.”

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