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One step away from the adoption of the Enforcement Directive on the posting of workers


18 Mar 2014


Social Europe & Jobs
The Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament today adopted the outcome of the trilogues on the Posting of Workers Directive by 30 MEPs in favour and 11 against. After approval by the Member States on the 5th of March (25 Member States in favour), it is a second positive signal for the future of the posting of workers. The next and last step is the plenary session in April in Strasbourg. If adopted in the plenary, the Directive will come into force in Spring 2016.
"I hope that we are truly one step from the adoption of the Enforcement Directive, and thus from finalising the two-year long intensive work aimed at ensuring the protection of workers' rights and safe mobility for Europe. It is indispensable for Europe to be able to come out of the persisting crisis and to rebuild its competitiveness at international level", said Danuta Jazłowiecka MEP, the Parliament’s Rapporteur on the Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive.
Today's Committee vote supports the agreement with regards to two most controversial elements of the Enforcement Directive, namely the list of national control measures as well as the system of joint and several liability. In the spirit of compromise, political groups agreed that Member States should have freedom in choosing control instruments to be used when inspecting foreign companies, provided that these instruments are justified and proportionate. Member States will be obliged to communicate to the European Commission which control instruments they apply, but this should not be understood as an ex-ante authorisation. With regards to joint and several liability, Member States are obliged to introduce direct liability in the construction sector. At the same time, they will also be able to apply alternative solutions, such as e.g. sanctions against the contractor. New provisions will not threaten systems already in place in 8 Member States.
“Today's vote is a very good sign for all the stakeholders. We have managed to come up with a balanced text which will improve workers’ rights through e.g. an obligatory joint and several liability system in the construction sector, where long sub-contracting chains may cause problems. Furthermore, while giving Member States flexibility in choosing control instruments, we will improve legal clarity for companies through EC monitoring and better access to information about them. I hope that the agreement reached today will finally stop conflicts and put an end to the negative atmosphere which emerged with regards to the posting of workers. Mobility is a very important tool in fighting the crisis and posting is one of the safest ways of working abroad", added Jazłowiecka.
The Enforcement Directive contains a number of provisions that should in the future improve the functioning of the posting of workers’ process.  When checking whether posting is genuine, national labour inspectors will use common lists of clearly identified elements. In addition, national authorities will have to take measures to exclude cases of persons falsely declared as self- employed. Agreement has been reached on improved access to information on applicable terms and conditions of employment which will have to be published on a single national website. Countries will have to indicate institutions to which workers and undertakings can address additional questions. Member States will also be obliged to put in place mechanisms enabling posted workers to lodge complaints against dishonest companies and receive from their employer e.g. outstanding net remuneration, or back payment, or a refund of taxes or social security contributions unduly withheld from their salaries as well as a refund of excessive costs with regards to accommodation. Also, administrative cooperation between Member States as well as cross-border enforcement of financial penalties and fines will be improved. 
“Recent discussions focused on Articles 9 and 12, but the Enforcement Directive itself has a lot of more to offer. Personally, I am very happy that Member States agreed to my idea of a single national official website containing all the necessary information on terms and conditions of employment for the posted workers. Nowadays, the lack of information is one of the main problems. Another important added value of this Directive will be improved cross- border enforcement of financial penalties and fines. The European Parliament has managed to convince Member States of the fight against bogus self-employment, which is an integral part of improved implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive”, added Jazłowiecka.
“I very much hope that when we come to the vote in April during the Plenary Session, a big majority will also support this new Directive”, she concluded.
Every year, around one million workers are being posted around Europe. The three biggest sending countries are Poland, Germany and France. The main purpose of the Enforcement Directive is to improve the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive from 1996.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
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