EU member state governments have agreed in Brussels to clear legislation that upgrades workers’ rights, including pension rights, when their employer moves them from one jurisdiction to another.

The revisions are to the Posting of Workers Directive, adopted in 1996, and in force since December 1999.   

The member state governments’ move, which still faces further steps, follows a proposal by the European Commission’s employment and social affairs DG in March 2012. 

The rules cover around 1.2m workers, mainly in the construction sector, who are ‘posted’ from their home country to work on contracts across national borders on a temporary basis.

The new upgrades follow a Commission finding that the rules laid down in the 1996 Directive “were not always correctly applied in practice by member states”.

At the time of the Commission’s new proposal, commission president José Manuel Barroso said: “The European Commission is taking concrete action to stamp out the unacceptable abuses.”

The DG itself writes that the proposed new safeguards would include raising the awareness of workers and companies about their rights and obligations; clamping down on ‘letter-box’ companies; and dealing with any administrative penalties and fines.

The DG says the biggest ‘sending’ country is Poland, followed by Germany and France.

Receiving counties include Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The next step for the draft will be further refinement of the text by the Parliament.