POSTING OF WORKERS DIRECTIVE – CURRENT SITUATION AND CHALLENGES
Under the “1996 Posting of Workers Directive” (Directive 96/71/EC; “PWD”), “posted worker” means a worker who, for a limited period of time, carries out his work in the territory of a Member State other than the State in which he normally works. Posted workers are different from EU mobile workers in that sense that they remain in the host Member State temporarily and do not integrate into its labour market.
There are several factors nowadays which have intensified the debate about the current EU regulations on the posting of workers. First of all, the number of postings has been increased, which has heavy impacts in specific sectors. Secondly, on the employers’ side there has been a growth in ‘creative’ abusive and fraudulent practices. Thirdly, in view of the social policy provisions, it is questionable whether the PWD provides sufficient legal instruments both for ensuring an appropriate background for the free movement of services and at the same time for delivering a sound basis for the social protection of workers. Finally, numerous rulings of the Court of Justice of the EU have raised several (yet unsolved) questions for interpreting the PWD.
In 2014, an Enforcement Directive was adopted for the purpose of improving the better application and enforcement of the provisions of the PWD. However, this Directive left untouched the several fundamental questions relating to the framework of posting. In March 2016, the European Commission published a proposal to revise the PWD. Among other changes, it entails a significantly modified perspective on the rights of posted workers, by including the principle of ‘the same work in the same place is rewarded by the same pay’.
On 12 October 2016, at the inter-parliamentary meeting of the Commission for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills, Social Affairs and Labour Mobility, a proposition on the “Targeted revision of the rules on the Posting of Workers” was presented and it was followed by an exchange of views between national parliaments. The ongoing process might lead to the significant revision of the PWD and the adoption of a new framework for posting of workers within the EU.