Posted workers directive less harmful for Poland - PAP source

Though the work on the posted workers directive is nearly completed and the new law will be disadvantageous for Poland, some provisions, after European Parliament's negotiations with EU countries, have been softened, according to a document accessed by PAP.

Under the posted workers directive, the wages and benefits of workers sent by their employer to work in another EU country are raised to the local level - when their delegation period expires. For some time, member countries have worked on changes to the rules, notably to reduce the delegation period.

Such a reduction would be unfavourable for Central and Eastern European transport firms as it reduces their competitive edge by raising their costs.

On March 19, during the European Parliament's negotiations with the Bulgarian Presidency on behalf of member states, a compromise was reached regarding the provisions of the new posted workers directive. Although a maximum delegation period of 12 months was introduced - which is disadvantageous for Poland because after this time, the posted worker will be covered by the labour law of the host country - the negotiated proposal also contains a number of provisions that may be satisfactory for Warsaw.

Under the proposed rules, the delegation period could be extended by a further six months in certain situations.

On April 11, the document is likely to be handed over to ambassadors of EU countries, and on June 21 it is to be finally voted by employment ministers at an EU Council meeting. Voting at the plenary session of the European Parliament will probably also take place in June.

According to the president of the Labour Mobility Initiative think tank, Stefan Schwarz, some countries will certainly try to refuse the extension, arguing that it is not properly justified, but the provision obligating them to such an extension is beneficial for Poland.

As he emphasised, it is also positive for Poland that an agreement has adopted a favourable definition regarding the so-called replacing one posted worker with another and a provision which speaks of the "real" period of posting.

"The point is that the directive will concern the actual number of working days by the posted worker, not the period from the arrival of the first employee to the departure of the last one, which also included breaks, as proposed by the European Commission and Parliament. 

The preamble of the amendment to the directive also stipulates the principle that when comparing the salary paid to a posted worker and the remuneration due in accordance with the law of the host country, the total gross remuneration should be taken into account, not the individual elements of remuneration.