10 November 2021, Virtual
London, UK - November 2021
London, UK - December 2021
Turner is a director at Equus Software, a global workforce management
and mobility solutions specialist
As business travel and foreign assignments ramp up in a post-pandemic world, corporates based in the European Union are currently adjusting to new Posted Worker Directive regulations. Scott Turner explains what EU-based companies must now be aware of.What is PWD?First adopted in 1996, the Posted Workers Directive has changed over the years, including significant adjustments in the Posted Workers Amendment Directive 2018 which came into effect in July 2020 and has since been the source of much debate and, indeed, confusion.The new rules add to corporates’ responsibility regarding the tracking of travelling workers and the provision of registration documents to the appropriate labour authorities. There are multiple implications of these new rules for employees, including considerable non-compliance risks, but there is also an opportunity for technology platforms to streamline the entire process. What is PWD for?The directive’s core intent is to protect workers that come from one EU country and are sent by their current employer to work in another EU country. This is typically a temporary arrangement, and one that requires the employer to follow certain rules of the host country. In most instances, workers who are sent to another EU state but do not conduct services within that country, are not considered posted workers. There’s complexity within the rules governing posted workers, especially given the ease of spur-of-the-moment European travel, which means some businesses risk missing registration deadlines.
When does a business traveller become a posted worker?A
business traveller visits EU member states predominantly for meetings,
conferences or similar. A business traveller becomes a posted worker
when travelling to EU member states is not for the sole purpose of
attending meetings or conferences.
What applies to whom?Those employees that are deemed to be posted workers follow the host country’s rules on compensation, allowances, working conditions, and other details. And, for assignments lasting more than a year, the workers must follow the host country’s specific labour laws. There are also requirements of businesses sending workers to other EU states, such as telling the employee the length of the engagement, any benefits they might accrue or receive, and the exact currency used for wages payment. Will posted worker numbers rise post-pandemic, and what can corporates do to prepare?The pandemic caused a sharp drop in the number of posted workers across Europe. However, as the global economic recovery takes off, and travel restrictions are lifted in EU countries, these numbers should increase. Employers should prepare for this resurgence by understanding the rules, so they avoid potentially damaging consequences. Businesses can address the regulations by improving the ways they identify business travellers and posted workers. They need to formalise the processes for employee travel, so HR can then develop rules for registration and tracking. Firms should also assign clear responsibilities for who internally will manage posted workers – whether this is the HR department or a global mobility group that manages cross-border work, for example. Employers need to notify the respective labour authorities in the host country about any new roles that fit within the new posted worker parameters. They need to develop tracking systems to manage these postings and have someone serve as a point person in the case of labour agency inspections. Is there a way to automate things?As is so often the case with travel and HR matters, one of the best ways for companies to manage the complex Posted Worker Directive rules and stay compliant is to utilise a centralised technology solution to manage the processes end-to-end. The registration process is not always simple for workers, as there’s multiple entities that must provide data – pay slips, contracts, etc – and will determine if someone is a posted worker or not. However, the right platform gives employers an automated tool that qualifies and organises posted workers in a way that removes bottlenecks and safeguards the company from risk. There are various offerings in the market – including our own posted worker app – which enable HR departments to register workers, collect data from different sources for registration, and to managed submissions. They will also help ensure compliance, enhance productivity and protect their brands.What happens to those not following the rules?There are significant fines for non-compliance, with costs approaching €10,000, depending on the involved countries. There’s also the potential for brand damage, as immigration authorities sometimes call out firms that break the rules.