EU Ministers draw up tighter Expat Employment Rules
This week European Union employment ministers gathered to discuss the increasingly contentious issue of foreign employment.
Nations like France have been calling for stricter regulations on expat employees, but have come up against opposition from countries including Slovakia, Hungary and the UK. Although not all officials were in agreement, EU employment ministers have now come up with a tentative solution.
Algimanta Pabedinskiene, who chaired the meeting, stated; ‘We have finally reached an agreement. It will help to protect the rights of the posted workers and will prevent possible abuses and infringements.’
‘Posted workers’ originate from an EU member state but are sent to another by their companies for work. Over a million posted workers move between EU nations every year and the circumstance is particularly common in the construction, hospitality, farming and road haulage industries.
The deal proposed by the EU would call for moderately tighter controls, including employees providing official documentation and firms undergoing a higher number of checks to ensure that they are abiding by European labour laws.
A cause for complaint among several European nations is that expat employees typically contribute less to the local government in taxes than employees from the local community.
Under current EU guidelines foreign workers taking on certain positions may be employed overseas for up to two years. While their contracts have to fit with local labour laws, their home country benefits from the employees’ social security payments.
Unions have dubbed the occurrence ‘social dumping’ and are prepared to stand against it.
This week trade unions in Brussels have been engaged in protests relating to the potential new rulings regarding expat workers and one Belgian Union official was recently quoted as saying; ‘What we want is that the outsourcing is regulated, so we can check up on all these subcontractors.’
The revised guidelines will now face further discussions between EU countries and the European Parliament before they are turned into law.