Better working conditions in the EU: Council adopts a directive on more transparency and predictability at work


The Council today adopted a directive which will make working conditions across the EU more transparent and predictable. The new law introduces new minimum rights, as well as new rules on the information to be provided to workers about their working conditions. Its main aim is to respond to labour market challenges triggered by demographic developments, digitalisation and new forms of employment.

This directive responds to the emergence of new forms of work. It introduces minimum rights for workers, and so provides increased security and predictability in the relationships between workers and employers, while preserving labour market adaptability.

Marius-Constantin Budăi, Minister of Labour and Social Justice of Romania

The directive applies to all individuals working more than 3 hours per week over four weeks (i.e. over 12 hours per month). Certain groups of workers may be excluded from some of the provisions, e.g. civil servants, armed forces, emergency services or law enforcement services.

The directive requires employers to inform workers, as from their first working day and no later than the seventh calendar day, of the essential aspects of the employment relationship, such as:

  • the identities of the parties to the relationship and the place and the nature of work
  • the initial basic amount of remuneration and the amount of paid leave
  • the duration of the standard working day or week when the work pattern is predictable
  • the identity of the social security institution receiving social security contributions, where this is the responsibility of the employer

When the work pattern is entirely or largely unpredictable, employers will also have to inform workers of the reference hours and days within which they may be required to work, the minimum period of advance notice the workers shall receive before the start of work, and the number of guaranteed paid hours.

The directive sets a number of further minimum rights for workers, including the rights:

  • to take up a job in parallel with another employer
  • to limit the probationary period to a maximum of 6 months, with longer periods allowed only in case where this is in the interest of the worker or is justified by the nature of the work
  • to request, after at least six months service with the same employer, employment with more predictable and secure working conditions
  • to receive training cost-free, when such training is required by Union or national legislation.

Member states are free to adopt or apply legislation which is more favourable to workers.

Background and next steps

The Commission presented its proposal in December 2017. In June 2018 the Council adopted its position which formed the basis for the negotiations with the European Parliament. The provisional agreement between the presidency of the Council and the Parliament was reached on 7 February 2019. The European Parliament voted in favour of the agreement on 16 April 2019. Following today’s adoption by the Council, the text of the directive will be published in the Official Journal of the EU. The directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following the publication. Member states will then have 3 years to take the necessary legislative measures to comply with the directive.

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