More compliance checks on EU workers’ rights and employment conditions

As of 18 June 2016, the Netherlands will have more scope for enforcing the Posting of Workers Directive. By introducing a reporting obligation for foreign workers, the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate will be able to check if workers from EU member states are receiving the pay they are entitled to. This means, for instance, that the owner of a Belgian engineering company wishing to build a bridge in the Netherlands will need to report which workers are coming to work on the bridge and for how long. The cabinet took this decision following a proposal from Lodewijk Asscher, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment. As previously announced, inspectorates in EU member states are also going to exchange more information and make it easier for fines issued in one member state to be collected in another.

In June it was announced that Mr Asscher’s proposal to amend the directive was supported by Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden. Previously Mr Asscher appeared to be alone in asking for the directive to be amended. However, the minister has now presented his ideas to this effect, endorsed by various EU ministers, to European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen. The European Commission expects to draw up proposals to make the free movement of services and workers fairer towards the end of this year.

The government wishes to tackle unfair competition on rights and employment conditions, based on the principle of equal pay for equal work in the same workplace. The government supports the free movement of workers. But this must be accompanied by greater protection. The government is also taking other steps to counteract a ‘race to the bottom’ for EU rights and employment conditions. This will be a focus of the Netherlands’ EU Presidency in 2016.

The cabinet has decided to submit the bill to the Council of State for advice. The text of the bill and the Council’s advisory opinion will be made public when they are presented to the House of Representatives.