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FOR Commentary: Posted workers: the Common Market not really common market any longer

The draft amendments to the Directive on delegated workers, which will be debated by the Council of the European Union on 23 October 2017, not only contradict the principle of free movement of workers by preventing companies from the poorer EU countries from using their comparative advantage in the form of lower wage expectations of posted workers. It also means that rigorous official checks will be a permitted in the EU to verify that all workers working at the same place in the same position are paid equally.

The basic purpose, propaganda-wise, of change1) in the Directive on posted workers is to ensure that a posted employee – for example one sent by a company from Poland to work in Denmark, France or Germany - earns as much as a Danish, French or German employee on the same position. Of course this cannot be ensured, so the point is to prohibit posted workers from taking up jobs paying them less than local workers in similar positions. This objective is reflected in the often quoted statement by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission: "In a Union of equals, there can be no second class workers. If you do the same work in the same place, you should earn the same pay."2)  

 A different matter is to guarantee that posted workers earn more than the minimum wage of the country where they work. This was already introduced in 2014. If the proposed changes are implemented, it will not only be against the EU law to pay a posted employee a wage of EUR 1400 if the minimum wage e.g. in France is EUR 1500 but also to pay EUR 2200, if the usual salary at this job is EUR 2500. It is worth noting here that the European Union wants to prohibit justified wage differences - for example, a foreign worker delegated to France may be less familiar with local realities or the French language, so it will be less productive than a worker from France.

Full commentary aviliable below in Polish.

1 See, e.g. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/posting-workers_en.pdf.
2Jean-Claude Juncker, „State of the Union”, 13.09.2017 r., cyt. za: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/posting-workers_en.pdf.


Anna Czepiel, Junior Analyst


Natalia WykrotaPR specjalist

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