EU Seeks New Rules on Pay for Workers With Short-Term Postings

  • Changes aim to make sure pay rules don't discriminate
  • Workers proposal not among plans postponed by `Brexit' debate

European Union workers who are posted to another EU nation for up to two years should be entitled to minimum pay rates in the country where they are sent, under a European Commission proposal released on Tuesday.

Short-term posted workers shouldn’t be paid differently than local workers, the commission said. Under the proposed changes to a set of 1996 rules, which also were updated in 2014, the EU said nations “will have to specify in a transparent way the different elements of how remuneration is composed on their territory,” including on bonuses, allowances or seniority-linked pay increases. For workers posted for longer than two years, full local labor laws should apply, the commission said.

The EU also on Tuesday began a public consultation on social rights within the euro area. The inquiry, which non-euro nations can choose to join, will look into how citizens, employers, national parliaments and local governments view labor markets and welfare systems.

“Europe is still facing problems resulting from the financial and sovereign debt crisis: poverty, social exclusion, inequality and high unemployment,” EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said. “We need to update the social agenda.”

The EU is not putting forward any new proposals on social security until after its June 23 referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the 28-nation bloc. Britain isn’t one of the nations most affected by the posted-workers plan -- in 2014, the U.K. received 51,000 posted workers, compared to about 190,000 received by France, and posted workers are equivalent to just 0.2 percent of total British employment, according to commission data.

Between 2010 and 2014, the number of postings increased by almost 45 percent, to around 1.9 million workers, the commission said. Most of these jobs are in the construction, manufacturing, education, health, social work and business services sectors.

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