The current Posting of Workers Directive (PWD), dating from 1996, sets a "core set" of conditions of employment of the host Member State, in the case where a worker is posted from a Member State to another, including: minimum rates of pay, maximum work periods and minimum rest periods, minimum paid annual holidays, health, safety and hygiene at work; protective measures and provisions of non-discrimination.
The revision of the PWD aims at introducing changes in three main areas:
- Remuneration of posted workers: remuneration would not only include the minimum rates of pay, but also other elements such as bonuses or allowances where applicable.
- Rules on temporary agency workers: national rules on temporary agency work would apply when agencies established abroad post workers.
- Long-term posting: if the duration of posting exceeds 24 months, the labour law conditions of the host Member States would have to be applied, where this is favourable to the posted worker.
The EESC opinion starts by clarifying the link between the recent Enforcement Directive 2014/67/EU and the revision of Posting of Workers Directive.
The EESC supports the aim of the Enforcement Directive to improve a common interpretation and implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive.
The two directives address different aspects of the practice of posting workers. Not only do they complement one another, but the results expected from the implementation of the Enforcement Directive could also provide a clearer picture of the real situation.
The EESC supports in principle the Commission's proposed recast of the Posting of Workers Directive. The principle of equal pay for equal work in the same place is the cornerstone of the pillar of social rights in Europe.
The EESC considers collective agreements to be the benchmark for levels of remuneration.
The EESC emphasises that the role of the exclusivity of social partners was not respected and wonders why a proper consultation was not launched with them in accordance with Article 154 (2) TFEU.
The EESC broadly welcomes the fact that the Commission has specifically laid down the maximum duration of postings. The limit of 24 months is a step in the right direction, but a limit of 6 months would be closer to real business conditions.
The EESC calls for the Posting of Workers Directive to include a clarification that the directive sets out a minimum standard, not a maximum. To this end, the legal basis will need to be extended.
The EESC opinion on the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive was adopted with 180 votes in favour, 84 against and 30 abstentions. A counter opinion on the same subject was put forward and not carried, receiving 94 for, 175 against and 23 abstentions.
In its opinion, the EESC supports in principle the Commission's proposed recast of the Posting of Workers Directive. The principle of equal pay for equal work in the same place is the cornerstone of the pillar of social rights in Europe.
Regarding the question of "remuneration", some EESC members consider that this newly-introduced concept is the only way to ensure equal working conditions for both posted and local workers, eliminating wage differentials and guaranteeing a level playing field among companies. Other EESC members believe that the introduction of this new concept could result in less legal certainty and clarity and increasing administrative and financial burdens for foreign service providers that post workers.
Regarding the maximum duration of posting, the EESC considered that the limit of 24 months is a step in the right direction, but a limit of 6 months would be closer to real business conditions.