The European Union’s Posted Worker Directive is already fully in force, but many organisations are either unaware of the regulations or have never encountered them before, due to not performing employee secondments within Europe. When your global mobility team is focused and experienced in global moves, some of the requirements may seem a little different to those associated with international relocations, but they are no less important. Ensuring that your global mobility program is properly prepared for the necessities of the EU Posted Worker Directive is essential.
Having a proper framework in place will help get everybody on board, and in the case of posted worker notifications, we mean everybody. Due to the nature of the declaration requirements, all parts of the business can be touched, from legal to payroll and even building managers. Making decisions in inclusive teams is the way forward; the local CFO needs to be a part of the planning, the business stakeholders need to be involved, with HR leading the way.
Typically, the first step is to identify the business travellers that you will need to consider based on your company’s risk parameters. Ideally, this would happen without manual effort and without putting an extra burden on the traveller or business. An automated system is ideal, as although the criteria for posted worker notifications vary across the EU, there is much shared common ground, and most cases can be easily identified.
The second step is then to determine how to analyse the risk associated with the individual’s case and how to mitigate it. It is common to see companies performing the first step without thinking about the second step. This is a huge risk because cases can pop up at HR leaving them to make the decisions of what to mitigate and how. This often increases the risk and leads to a tremendous amount of workload.
Instead, implement an integrated system which can help you decide if you have to register a posting, understand what it takes to register, and provide a process to support the registration. It’s not painless, but it is much less painful.
One of the most important and effective enforcement measures available to national authorities when regulating the posted worker labour market and ensuring compliance with regulations is the possibility to impose fines. The nature of these fines can vary across EU member states, but all are dealt on a per-employee, per-assignment basis. Additionally, being penalised in this way will provide a black mark against your organisation, triggering more frequent and more thorough audits of your posted worker program and its compliance.
Performing a proper assessment of your program’s risks, and how to mitigate them with respect to the Posted Worker Directive is essential. Some organisations will even choose to ignore the requirements and run the risk of large financial and legal penalties on the basis that their secondments are too small and infrequent to put a notification framework in place. Of course, this is highly inadvisable, and any decision must be based on your organisation’s individual weighing of the potential risks.
Working condition assessment
The key reason for the implementation of the EU Posted Worker Directive was to ensure employees have access to the same standards of working environment and pay as local workers when on secondment to other EU countries. Therefore, employers must provide employment conditions at least equal to the minimum level provided for by the law in the host country where posted workers are temporarily working.
For intra-company moves, where you have employees moving to work in another office for a short period, this may not cause any issues, as the local regulations will be well understood and followed. However, in cases when your organisation is hiring out employees or sending them to a partner business or client, it is essential that you understand the local laws and ensure they are being followed with regards to your posted workers.
Also note that some EU countries will require proof that the organisation has considered the level of working conditions required in addition to the conditions actually being fulfilled, so make sure you understand the individual regulations in each of your secondment countries.
Build a business case
When assembling a business case for the Posted Worker Directive, there are a few things to keep in mind when establishing your approach. Whether your organisation and mobility program are large or small, the posted worker and their smartphone are the only constant, so use them to their best ability. Keep everything as digital as possible to ensure that you can properly leverage the employee as much as required. Remember that the employee can act as their own liaison in most cases, and they may well be the best source of information when it comes to the situation on the ground.
In this decade, data is often the most important factor in many aspects of business success, quickly followed by the proper application of it. Ensure that your posted worker management priorities are backed up by the data you have, whether it be for taxation, immigration, travel costs, value added by the employee, or any of your other KPIs.
Finally, seek an appropriate proper budget for your posted worker compliance efforts. When it comes to requirements such as those of the Posted Worker Directive, having the necessary resources in place to effectively tackle them is essential. As the notification and representation processes associated with the legislation touches many parts of the business, it is wise to raise the profile and resources of the mobility team within the organisation, to liaise across departments and stakeholders, and effectively manage the processes.