Same work, same pay – MEPS react to new proposal on posted workers

Parliament debated proposed revised rules for workers who are employed in one member state and temporarily sent to another by their employer, as presented by Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, on Tuesday evening. Political groups’ speakers were divided: for centre-left MEPs, it was not far-reaching enough to prevent exploitation of workers, while centre-right MEPs expressed concern about its impact on competitiveness and SMEs.

Commissioner Thyssen said that the EU needs clear, fair and enforceable rules on labour mobility, which has not always been the case with the present legislation, dating from 1996. Since then the EU labour market has changed and the ratio of the lowest to highest national minimum wages in EU member states has increased from 1:3 in 1996 to 1:10 today.

Legislation should provide for better protection for posted workers, non-discrimination, equal conditions for domestic and cross-border service providers, and more transparency and legal certainty, she added.

Ms Thyssen advocates the same pay for the same work in the same place. So postings should no longer be subject only to minimum rates of pay, but to all provisions on remuneration in the host country. Also, workers posted for longer than two years will be deemed to have been integrated into the host labour market, so as to prevent abuses such as employing them under less favourable social conditions.

The legislative proposal will be debated and scrutinised by Parliament and Council in following months before co-deciding on the final version to adopt.