This week’s question on UTalk comes from Isabelle in Toulouse, France:
“Why does the EU regulation on seconded workers regularly stir controversy in member states such as France, Germany or the Benelux countries?”
Euronews asked Michel Miné, associate professor of Labor Law at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, (CNAM, Paris, France), and lecturer at the Academy of European Law, (Trier, Germany), to provide the answer:
“Seconded workers are workers sent by their company to work in another EU member state for a fixed time period.
As far as their working conditions are concerned, these workers are subject to the labour laws of their host country, whereas their own laws continue to cover social protection and the funding of their social protection; the law of their country of origin where they usually work takes precedence.
Workers must benefit from a set of minimum standards in terms of working hours, for instance. Another crucial point is that they must earn at least the legal minimum wage applicable in their host country where they are temporarily working.
What often stirs controversy is the fact that there are grounds for unfair competition. It’s said that companies, mainly from Central and Eastern EU countries, sending workers to Western EU countries do not necessarily respect the rules in terms of the minimum wage.
Posting workers in another EU member state must not lead to social dumping. This freedom offered to companies must not be exercised, to put it in a rather brutal way, at the expense of workers.
To tackle this thorny issue a new EU directive was adopted in 2014.
This new directive, which enforces the 1996 EU directive on seconded workers, aims to strengthen the controls carried out by labour inspection services as well as coordination between EU member states.
The 2014 EU directive must enter into force by the 18th of June 2016.”
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