Fair working conditions for posted workers

It is increasingly common for citizens of other EU countries to be posted to work in Sweden. The Government is working to promote fair working conditions for posted workers. Several proposals on amendments to the rules on the posting of workers are currently being considered.

Photo: Maskot/Folio.

New posting regulations strengthen the status of collective agreements

The Government has adopted the government bill 'New posting regulations' and the legislative amendments entered into force June 1, 2017. These legislative proposals help create a more effective and efficient system for the protection of the rights of posted workers under the EU Posting of Workers Directive and the Enforcement Directive. The legislative proposal also contains provisions aimed at increasing transparency and predictability when posting workers so that it will be easier for companies that post workers to find out what conditions apply in the Swedish labour market.

"International trade and openness in relation to other countries are crucial for our prosperity, but free movement within the EU does not mean a green light for exploiting people who come to Sweden to work. Competition between companies should be based on competence, not poor working conditions. Swedish unions must always be able to demand a Swedish collective agreement, ultimately with the backing of industrial action. At the same time, the Government is working to change EU regulations to make it possible to demand equal pay for foreign and Swedish workers," says Minister for Employment and Integration Ylva Johansson.

Press release: Important legislative proposal that expands upon the Swedish labour market model in situations involving the posting of workers

The Posting of Workers Directive contains rules for people who are posted to another country by their employer to work there for a limited period. Together with the governments of several other countries, the Swedish Government has pushed to bring about an amendment of the Posting of Workers Directive. The principle should be 'equal pay for equal work' in accordance with applicable laws and collective agreements in the country of employment, with respect for free movement.

"I welcome the proposal from the Commission as it would provide more equal treatment for posted workers and a level playing field for all European companies", says Minister for Employment and Integration Ylva Johansson.

Webcast: Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility comments the revision of the rules on posting of workers (European Commission website)
Webcast: Posted workers in the EU (European Commission website)

Subcontracting liability and Swedish collective agreement terms for posted workers

A memorandum from March 2016 contains proposals on amendments to the Posting of Workers Act to the effect that a posted worker will be entitled to the terms and conditions of employment set out in a Swedish collective agreement by which the employer is bound, regardless of whether or not the worker is a member of the trade union concerned.

The memorandum also proposes introducing a subcontracting liability in construction and civil engineering activities. If an employer engaged as a subcontractor fails to pay wages to a posted worker, the worker will be able to address their demands to a contractor higher up in the chain of contractors.

The proposals in the memorandum concern the implementation in Swedish law of certain parts of the Enforcement Directive to The Posting of Workers Directive.

Review of Lex Laval

The Inquiry on the posting of foreign workers to Sweden has been tasked with reviewing lex Laval, i.e. the changes to the legislation on the posting of workers to Sweden introduced in April 2010 as a result of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment in the Laval case. The Inquiry makes a number of proposals to safeguard the Swedish labour market model and status of collective agreements in situations involving posted workers.

The proposal of the Inquiry on the posting of foreign workers to Sweden is that Swedish workers' organisations should be allowed to take industrial action for Swedish collective agreements setting out minimum terms and conditions, regardless of the terms and conditions already used by the posting employer.

"These proposals strengthen the position of collective agreements in situations involving the posting of workers to Sweden and accord better with the Swedish labour market model than the current rules, which were introduced after the judgment in the Laval case," says Inquiry Chair Marie Granlund.

SOU 2015:83 Review of Lex Laval – Summary

Implementation of The Enforcement Directive to The Posting of Workers Directive

In June 2014, an inquiry was instructed to propose how The Enforcement Directive to The Posting of Workers Directive (the 'Enforcement Directive') should be implemented in Swedish law. The inquiry had instructions to assess whether Swedish law is compatible with the Enforcement Directive and to draft the legislative proposals needed to bring Swedish legislation into line with the Directive in areas such as who qualifies as a posted worker, improved access to information, administrative cooperation between government agencies, national control measures, inspections and other monitoring, facilitation of complaints and cross-border enforcement of financial administrative penalties.

SOU 2015:13 The Enforcement Directive to The Posting of Workers Directive Part I– Summary
SOU 2015:38 The Enforcement Directive to The Posting of Workers Directive Part II– Summary