More transparency and predictability at work: provisional agreement reached between the European Council and the European Parliament

new Directive conditions at job

The Romanian Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament reached today (7 February) a provisional agreement on a directive aimed at making working conditions across the EU more transparent and predictable. The agreement will now be submitted to the member states’ representatives in the Council of the EU for endorsement.

The new law aims to respond to the labour market challenges triggered by demographic developments, digitalisation and new forms of employment. When adopted, it will repeal the written statement directive dating from 1991 and introduce new minimum rights and new rules on the substance, form and timing of information provided to workers on their working conditions.

New forms of work provide opportunities, but also create uncertainty as to workers rights and social protection. The directive will introduce a set of minimum rights aimed at increasing security and predictability in the relationships between workers and employers.

About this topic, Marius-Constantin Budăi, Minister of Labour and Social Justice of Romania, has remarked that the future directive will require employers to inform workers 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.

When the work pattern is entirely or mostly unpredictable, employers will also have to inform workers on 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 the work and the amount of guaranteed paid hours.

The provisional agreement 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, an employment with more predictable and secure working conditions;
– to receive a training cost-free, when such training is required by Union or national legislation.

According to the agreement, all workers working more than 3 hours per week over four weeks (i.e. over 12 hours per month) are to be covered by the directive. On objective grounds, certain groups of workers may be excluded from some of the provisions of the directive, e.g. civil servants, armed forces, emergency services or law enforcement services.

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 will now be examined by the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee that needs to endorse it. The formal vote in both the Council and the European Parliament will follow at a later stage.

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