On Wednesday, the EU-commission presented a proposal for a new directive, which should help to defend the posted workers directives in a better way. This is necessary because employees who temporarily work in a foreign EU-country are often confronted with wage and social dumping. The commission’s aim is to improve the cooperation between national authorities. In addition, they want to facilitate the enforcement of workers’ rights.
However, the planned law regarding national control measures must also be seen in a critical light, for the draft law makes it more difficult to control illicit work.
For example in Germany, the Federal Customs Administration represented in its annual financial statements of 2011 in total 524 000 controlled employees and around 68 000 reviewed enterprises. The amount of loss due to black labour and illegal employment amounted 660 million € in 2011. Most of the posted workers labour on construction projects or in simple service occupations.
According to the draft law the EU member states may only implement controls, when they do not get the necessary information from the employer of the posted worker or from the country of origin. As the specialist community construction Berlin and Brandenburg criticises, the draft law reduces the opportunity for action. If the customs is only allowed to enter a construction site after getting an approval, it is too late. The construction project is finished and the illicit workers are away. It is necessary to react fast.
In addition, the member states are only allowed to control on the basis of determined measures. Under article nine the countries only could make use of the following administrative requirements and control measures: compulsory registration and obligation of data recording. Moreover, they can urge the availability of documents like an employment contract, a time sheet and a proof that wages are paid.
Another critical point is the fact that the member countries can only require a translation of documents which are not too long and do not correspond to usual standards. This regulation is a big problem for the customs, because they have to translate a document on their own, when it exceeds a defined length. This additional effort makes it more difficult for them to fight against illicit work.