The European Union has maintained a steadfast commitment to eliminating barriers hindering the free movement of services within the internal market. This commitment is reflected in the evolution of the EU Directive on the Posting of Workers, with its initial version dating back to 1996. Although this directive established minimum conditions for cross-border work, deficiencies emerged over time, leading to questionable practices due to unclear provisions.
To address these shortcomings, the EU introduced Directive (EU) 2018/957 of the Parliament and Council, approved on June 28, 2018. This modification of Directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers in the context of transnational services marked a significant milestone by incorporating key changes.
Key Changes Introduced:
- Equal Treatment: A prominent feature of the amended Directive is the introduction of the principle of equal treatment. This provision aims to ensure that posted workers enjoy the same rights and working conditions as local workers, fostering a more equitable work environment and protecting the fundamental rights of all employees, regardless of their place of origin.
- Expansion of Remuneration Concept: Another crucial change is the broadening of the remuneration concept. The directive redefines and clarifies what constitutes remuneration, encompassing not only the basic salary but also other elements such as social benefits and expenses related to the posting. This expansion seeks to ensure fair and comprehensive compensation for posted workers, strengthening the integrity of the European labor market.
- Establishment of Maximum Duration for Posting: The new directive also sets a maximum duration for the posting of workers. This time limit aims to prevent abuses and ensure that postings do not become a prolonged practice that could negatively impact workers and fair competition in the market.
Each EU member country is responsible for implementing the Directive in its national legislation, adapting it to its specific rules and regulations. This decentralization encourages cooperation among member states, promoting an effective and consistent application of the legislation.
In alignment with this European commitment, Spain took a significant step by approving Royal Decree-Law 7/2021 on April 27, 2021. With this action, Spain has completed the transposition of the Directive into its national legal framework, reinforcing the protection of labor rights and contributing to the development of a fairer and more equitable labor market within the European Union.
Objective of the EU Directive on Posting of Workers
The EU Directive aims to ensure minimum labor conditions within the European Union. It specifically addresses the posting of workers within the EU, occurring when a company temporarily sends one of its employees to work in another EU member state, either for cross-border services or in the context of service provision.
The primary feature of the Directive is to guarantee that posted workers receive a minimum set of rights, including the host country’s minimum wage, working hours, rest periods, holidays, and general working conditions. Additionally, it establishes equal treatment with local workers concerning labor standards.
This directive is crucial for ensuring proper working conditions across the EU. It enables posted workers to enjoy fair conditions and allows companies to compete on a level playing field. It also contributes to social and economic cohesion, strengthening confidence in the European single market.
Moreover, the Directive imposes formal requirements, such as mandatory communication of each posting. Companies must notify the authorities of the host country and their workers about the posting, including the nature of the work, whether it is self-employed or on behalf of another, and the duration of the posting, as a general example of communication.
The Directive obliges all companies to communicate to the competent labor authority the posting of workers to each European country, taking into account specific requirements of each country, both in terms of formal requirements and the duration of the posting.
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