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The posted worker in France: status, form…


The status of posted worker was born thanks to a European directive. It allows a foreigner from the European Union to work in France. Salary, status, form: here is what you need to know about this status.

On Monday 23 October, the Ministers of Labor and Social Affairs of the European Union met in Luxembourg. On the menu: a reform of the status of posted workers. France saw Emmanuel Macron’s proposal adopted. From now on, a posted worker can only work twelve months in a country of the European Union of which he is not a national (but the duration can be extended six more months at the request of the company and by decision of the country of ‘welcome). This agreement does not concern the transport sector. The agreement will take the form of a directive which is not expected to enter into force before 2022.

Only four countries voted against the reform: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary. But other countries providing posted workers (Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) have supported the new proposals. The current rules regarding posted work are described in the file below.

A posted worker is a person from a member state of the European Union, assigned by his employer to carry out his duties in France or in another EU country. This status is to be distinguished from that of migrant workers. The posting of an employee can take place when the employer concludes an agreement with another part of the European Union. A company can also second an employee to an establishment of the same group. If it is a temporary agency or an employment office, the secondment can be carried out when hiring services in a member country of the Union. The employee carries out missions on behalf of the company for which he works, in another European country. This is often a temporary work contract.

In order to avoid social dumping, European Community legislation provides that the minimum employment conditions of the country of expatriation must be applied to workers posted in the country concerned. Thus, the employee will be able to benefit from a salary equivalent to, or higher than, the minimum salary in force in the country of posting (in France this is the Smic). Workers moved to France, as well as their dependents, will be able to benefit from the Social Security system, in addition to that of the State from which they originate. To do this, displaced employees will have to register with Social Security, to take advantage of health insurance.

The employer of the displaced worker must complete a posting form, and send it by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to the Labor Inspectorate of the place of posting. This statement is also available on the Internet. Please note that this form is only available in French.

According to figures given by the Ministry of Labour, in 2016, the main country providing posted workers was Poland (46,816) followed by Portugal (44,456) Spain (35,231) and Romania (30 594). Regarding host countries, the first three positions are occupied by Germany (400,000), France (200,000) and Belgium (160,000). The favored sectors of posted workers are: construction, agriculture, transport.

The number of posted workers in an illegal situation is estimated at more than 290,000 in France in 2016, according to figures from the National Commission for the Fight against Illegal Work. In order to fight against these abuses, the Macron law has set up a mandatory professional identification card for all displaced construction workers. It has existed since January 1, 2016. This document will contain information relating to the worker, his employer and the organization that issued the card. The directive provides, in the event of irregularity, for the suspension of work for a period of one month. If the principal is responsible in a situation of illegal work, he will be sanctioned with a fine of 2,000 euros per posted worker. Finally, the Macron law reinforces the presence of control agents, who will ensure that working conditions are respected.

According to a parliamentary report from April 2017, a French employee at minimum wage costs less than a foreign employee paid at minimum wage: 1609 euros against 1788 euros for a Polish employee for example. According to this report: “the mechanisms for exemption from social security contributions on low wages limit the economic advantage of using posted workers”.

In his electoral program, Emmanuel Macron had planned black on white to begin a labor reform and to fight against the abuses linked to posted work: “We will have to limit the authorized duration of stay of a posted worker to one year and redefine at European level the rules on posting to put an end to all forms of unfair social competition”. The status of posted workers has been revised by the European Union. The modifications, made by France among others, are as follows:

  • Limitation of secondments to 12 months over a two-year period (18 months at the request of the host company)
  • Transport, accommodation and meal allowances included in the posted worker’s salary
  • European platform managed by the Commission to share information between labor inspectors.

And also

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