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European Works Council

European Works Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Works Council

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

European Works Council

The Directive imposes a works council or an information and consultation procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings on the basis of an agreement negotiated between employees’ representatives forming a special negotiating body and the central management of the undertaking. It also defines the procedures for the operation of this body. In the cases identified by the Directive in which an agreement cannot be reached, it stipulates the provisions which subsidiary requirements to be established by the Member States must satisfy.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Communityscale undertakings and Communityscale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees [See amending acts].

Summary

The main provisions of the Directives are as follows:

  • Establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure for informing and consulting employees * in every Community-scale undertaking * and every Community-scale group of undertakings *, on the basis of an agreement between the central management and a special negotiating body.

The central management:

  • will be responsible for creating the conditions and means necessary for the setting up of a European Works Council or an information and consultation procedure;
  • will initiate negotiations on its own initiative or at the written request of at least 100 employees or their representatives in at least two undertakings or establishments in at least two Member States.

Special negotiating body

This body, comprising a minimum of three and a maximum of the number of Member States:

  • will have the task of determining, with the central management, by written agreement, the scope, composition, competence and term of office of the European Works Council(s) or the arrangements for implementing a procedure for the information and consultation of employees;
  • may decide, by at least two-thirds of the votes, not to open negotiations or to terminate the negotiations already opened; such a decision would stop the procedure to conclude the agreement and would nullify the provisions of the Annex.

The members of the special negotiating body and of the European Works Council, and any experts who assist them, will not be authorised to reveal any information which has expressly been provided to them in confidence.

Exemptions from the Directive

Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings in which there is already an agreement covering the entire workforce, providing for the transnational information and consultation of employees, will not be subject to the obligations arising from the Directives. When these agreements expire, the parties involved may decide jointly to renew them. Where this is not the case, the provisions of the Directives will apply.

Subsidiary requirements

Subsidiary requirements laid down by the legislation of the Member State in which the central management is situated will apply:

  • where the central management and the special negotiating body so decide, or;
  • where the central management refuses to commence negotiations within six months of the initial request to convene the special negotiating body, or;
  • where, after three years from the date of this request, they are unable to conclude an agreement to establish a European Works Council or an information and consultation procedure, and the special negotiating body has not taken the decision not to open negotiations or to terminate the negotiations.

These subsidiary requirements must satisfy the provisions set out in the Annex, whereby:

  • the competence of the European Works Council will be limited to information and consultation on matters which concern the Community-scale undertaking as a whole or at least two establishments or group undertakings situated in different Member States;
  • the European Works Council is to have a minimum of three and a maximum of 30 members and, where its size so warrants, is to elect a select committee from among its members, comprising at most three members;
  • four years after the European Works Council is established, it is to consider whether to open negotiations for the conclusion of the agreement on the arrangements for implementing the information and consultation of employees, or to continue to apply the subsidiary requirements adopted in accordance with the Annex;
  • the European Works Council will have the right to meet with the central management once a year in order to be informed and consulted, on the basis of a report drawn up by the central management, on the progress of the business of the Community-scale undertaking or Community-scale group of undertakings and its prospects;
  • where there are exceptional circumstances affecting the employees’ interests to a considerable extent, particularly in the event of relocation, closure or collective redundancy, the select committee or, where no such committee exists, the European Works Council will have the right to be informed;
  • the members of the European Works Council are to inform the employees’ representatives of the content and outcome of the information and consultation procedure;
  • the operating expenses of the European Works Council are to be borne by the central management; in compliance with this principle, the Member States may lay down budgetary rules regarding the operation of the European Works Council.

Background

The purpose of this Directive is to improve the right of employees in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings to be informed and consulted.

Directive 97/74/EC extends the scope of this Directive to the United Kingdom.

This Directive shall be repealed by Directive 2009/38/EC (FR) with effect from 6 June 2011 when the latter enters into force. The modernisation of the legislation carried out by this new Directive has many objectives. It aims to ensure the effectiveness of employees’ transnational information and consultation rights, to increase the number of European Works Councils and to enable the continuing functioning of their constituent agreements. These provisions also aim to strengthen legal certainty for the establishment and functioning of European Works Councils.

Key terms used in the act
  • Community-scale undertaking: any undertaking with at least 1 000 employees within the Member States and at least 150 employees in each of at least two Member States.
  • Group of undertaking: a controlling undertaking and its controlled undertakings.
  • Community-scale group of undertakings: a group of undertakings with the following characteristics:
    • at least 1 000 employees within the Member States,
    • at least two group undertakings in different Member States, and
    • at least one group undertaking with at least 150 employees in one Member State and another group undertaking with at least 150 employees in another Member State.
  • Controlling undertaking: an undertaking which can exercise a dominant influence over another undertaking by virtue, for example, of ownership, financial participation or the rules which govern it.
  • Consultation: the exchange of views and establishment of dialogue between employees’ representatives and central management or any more appropriate level of management.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 94/45/EC

22.9.1996

22.9.1996

OJ L 254 of 30.9.1994

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 97/74/EC

15.12.1997

15.12.1999

L 10, 16.1.1998

Directive 2006/109/EC

1.1.2007

1.1.2007

OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

Related Acts

Directive 2009/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees (Recast) (Text with EEA relevance) [Official Journal L 122 of 16.5.2009].

Commission report of 4 April 2000 on the application of the Directive on the establishment of a European works council or a procedure in Communityscale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees [COM(2000) 188 final – not published in the Official Journal].


Another Normative about European Works Council

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

European Works Council (from 2011)

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees (Recast) (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Directive aims at guaranteeing employees’ transnational information * and consultation * rights. It provides for the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure for informing and consulting employees in Community-scale undertakings * and groups of undertakings.

Matters dealt with by the European Works Council or the information and consultation procedure are of a transnational nature.

The powers of the European Works Council and the scope of the information and consultation procedure concern: all establishments of the undertaking or all establishments in a Community-scale group situated in the Member States.

Member States may provide that this Directive shall not apply to merchant navy crews.

The dominant influence of an undertaking

The Directive defines a “controlling undertaking” – i.e. which exercises a dominant influence over a “controlled undertaking”. This influence is established if an undertaking:

  • holds a majority of another undertaking’s subscribed capital;
  • controls a majority of the votes attached to that undertaking’s issued share capital; or
  • can appoint more than half of the members of that undertaking’s administrative, management or supervisory body (this last criterion is determining).

Creation of a European Works Council

The central management of the undertaking or the group is responsible for establishing a Council or an information and consultation procedure. If a representative is not appointed, where the management is not located in a Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA), it is the responsibility of the establishment or undertaking which employs the largest number of workers in one of the Member States.

The central management shall initiate negotiations to establish the European Works Council or the information and consultation procedure. It shall act:

  • on its own initiative; or
  • at the written request of at least 100 employees (or their representatives) in at least two undertakings (or establishments) in at least two different Member States.

A special negotiating body shall be formed by employees’ representatives. They may be elected or appointed, according to the number of employees in each Member State where the undertaking is present. The special group shall negotiate an agreement with the management in order to define the operation of the European Works Council and the arrangements for implementing a procedure for the information and consultation of employees.

The members of this group shall receive the same protection as employees’ representatives, as laid down by national legislation and/or practice in the country where they are employed.

Context

Directive 94/45/EC is repealed with effect from 6 June 2011, the date on which this Directive enters fully into force.

Key terms
  • Community-scale undertaking: which employs at least 1000 employees within the Member States, and at least 150 employees in two different States.
  • Information: transmission of data by the employer to the employees’ representatives in order to enable them to acquaint themselves with the subject matter and to examine it. Employees’ representatives may in particular undertake an in-depth assessment of the possible impact and, where appropriate, prepare for consultations.
  • Consultation: establishment of dialogue and exchange of views enabling representatives to express an opinion about the proposed measures. This opinion may be taken into account within the undertaking or group of undertakings.

Reference

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2009/38/EC

5.6.2009 
6.6.2011 (Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11)
(Annexes I)

5.6.2011

OJ L 122 of 16.5.2009

Health and safety for temporary workers

Health and safety for temporary workers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Health and safety for temporary workers

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Health and safety for temporary workers

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 91/383/EEC of 25 June 1991 supplementing the measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of workers with a fixed-duration employment relationship or a temporary employment relationship [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The European health and safety at work standards apply to all workers, including temporary workers, whose employment relationships are defined by:

  • a fixed-duration contract concluded directly between an employer and a worker under which the end of the contract is determined by objective conditions (date, completion of a specific task, etc.);
  • a temporary employment contract concluded between a temporary employment business and a worker for the purpose of carrying out a task in an undertaking under its supervision.

Directive 89/391/EEC on health and safety at work and the sectoral directives (concerning manual handling, in particular) apply to this type of employment contract.

Informing workers

Before employment commences, the undertaking must inform the temporary worker of:

  • the occupational qualifications or skills required;
  • the special medical surveillance provided for by national legislation;
  • the specific risks that the job may entail.

Workers’ training

Before undertaking an activity, the temporary worker must receive training on the characteristics and risks of the job. This training must be adapted to the worker’s level of qualifications and professional experience.

Medical surveillance

European Union (EU) Member States may prohibit the recruitment of temporary workers for work which:

  • is dangerous to their health and safety;
  • requires special medical surveillance over a long period.

If Member States do not use this option, they must ensure that appropriate medical surveillance is in place. If necessary, this surveillance may continue after the end of the temporary contract.

Responsibilities

The undertaking receiving the temporary worker shall be responsible for the conditions governing the performance of the work, in particular with regard to safety, hygiene and health. Member States may also decide to extend this responsibility to the temporary employment business.

The persons or departments responsible for ensuring that the preventive health rules are complied with must be notified of any assignment of temporary workers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 91/383/EEC

15.7.1991

31.12.1992

L 206, 29.7.1991

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Agreement on the European Economic Area – Protocol 1 on horizontal adaptations

1.1.1994

L 1, 3.1.1994

Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165, 27.6.2007

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 91/383/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purpose only.

Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 89/654/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace (first individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Directive aims at protecting the health and safety of workers at their workplace * . It supplements the general provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC on matters of health and safety at work.

However, the Directive does not apply to:

  • means of transport used outside the undertaking or workplaces situated inside means of transport;
  • temporary or mobile work sites;
  • extractive industries;
  • fishing boats;
  • fields, woods and other land situated away from the buildings of an agricultural or forestry undertaking.

Employers’ obligations

The minimum health safety and conditions applicable are provided in Annex I to the Directive for cases where the workplaces were used for the first time after 31 December 1992 or when these locations were converted after this date.

If the workplaces were used before 1 January 1993, they must meet the requirements provided for in Annex II to the Directive.

In addition, the employer must ensure:

  • emergency exits are kept clear and can be used at all times;
  • good technical maintenance of the workplace, equipment and devices, and the quick rectification of defective elements which may present a risk;
  • adequate hygiene conditions;
  • regular maintenance and checks of safety equipment to prevent and eliminate hazards.

Information and consultation of workers

Workers and/or their representatives are informed of all measures to be taken in order to protect their health and safety.

They are consulted on all issues and measures connected with this area, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC.

Key terms
  • Workplace: means the workstations housed on the premises of the undertaking and/or establishment, and any other place within the area of the undertaking to which the worker has access in the course of his/her employment.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 89/654/EEC

15.12.89

31.12.1992 (31.12.94 for Greece)

OJ L 393 of 30.12.89

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services

Posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

Posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services

Document or Iniciative

Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services [See amending acts].

Summary

The Directive applies to undertakings which, in the framework of the transnational provision of services, post workers to the territory of a Member State, provided there is an employment relationship between the undertaking making the posting and the worker during the period of posting:

  • on their account and under their direction, under a contract concluded between the undertaking making the posting and the party for whom the services are intended;
  • to an establishment or to an undertaking owned by the group;
  • as a temporary employment undertaking, to a user undertaking.

For the purposes of the Directive, “posted worker” means a worker who, for a limited period, carries out his/her work in the territory of a Member State other than the State in which he/she normally works. The definition of a worker is that which applies in the law of the Member State to whose territory the worker is posted.

Working conditions

Member States must ensure that undertakings guarantee posted workers a central core of mandatory protective legislation laid down in the Member State in which the work is carried out:

  • by law, regulation or administrative provision and/or;
  • by collective agreements or arbitration awards * which have been declared universally applicable, in so far as they concern the activities set out in the Directive’s annex.

Conditions of work and employment to be covered are:

  • maximum work periods and minimum rest periods;
  • minimum paid annual holidays;
  • minimum rates of pay, including overtime rates;
  • the conditions of hiring-out of workers, in particular the supply of workers by temporary employment undertakings;
  • health, safety and hygiene at work;
  • protective measures with regard to the terms and conditions of employment of pregnant women or women who have recently given birth, of children and of young people;
  • equality of treatment between men and women and other provisions on non-discrimination.

Derogations

Member States may derogate from the immediate implementation of the rules on:

  • minimum rates of pay in the case of work lasting for a maximum of one month provided that this work is not carried out by temporary employment undertakings;
  • minimum rates of pay and holidays in the case of an “insignificant” amount of work to be done, provided that this work is not carried out by temporary employment undertakings;
  • minimum rates of pay and holidays in the case of initial assembly and/or first installation of the goods provided when the maximum duration of the work does not exceed eight days. This derogation does not, however, apply to the building industry.

Calculation of salary

Allowances specific to the posting are considered to be part of the minimum wage, unless they are paid in reimbursement of expenditure actually incurred on account of the posting.

Equal treatment

Member States may provide that undertakings must guarantee temporarily posted workers the same terms and conditions which apply to temporary workers in the Member States where the work is carried out.

Cooperation in the area of information and duty to provide information

Member States must designate one or more liaison offices or one or more competent national bodies and notify the other Member States and the Commission accordingly.

Member States must make provision for cooperation between the public authorities which, in accordance with national legislation, are responsible for monitoring terms and conditions of employment. Mutual administrative assistance is provided free of charge.

Each Member State must take the appropriate measures to make the information on terms and conditions of employment generally available and to ensure that adequate procedures are available to workers and/or their representatives for the enforcement of obligations under the Directive.

In the event of non-compliance with these terms and conditions of employment, Member States shall, if necessary, also take the appropriate measures.

Redress

In order to enforce the right to the terms and conditions of employment guaranteed by the Directive, judicial proceedings may be instituted in the Member State in whose territory the worker is or was posted.

Background

The European Union wishes to remove the uncertainties and obstacles impeding the free provision of services, as provided for in Article 49 of the EC Treaty, by increasing the protection of posted workers.

However, during the last two waves of EU enlargement in 2004 and 2007, the Acts of Accession introduced transitional arrangements for Germany and Austria. They enable the countries to cope with the risk of disruption in certain vulnerable sectors, and to limit the posting of workers in relation to the provision of services and for as long as they apply restrictions on the free movement of workers and have informed the Commission. The new Member States may take reciprocal measures where Germany and Austria depart from Article 49 of the EC Treaty.

The transitional arrangements which enable Member States to restrict access to the labour market to workers coming from the new Member States, with the exception of Cyprus and Malta, do not allow Member States to derogate from Article 49 of the EC Treaty and therefore restrict the posting of workers.

Key terms used in the act
  • Collective agreements or arbitration awards which have been declared universally applicable: These must be observed by all undertakings in the geographical area and in the profession or industry concerned.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 96/71/EC [adoption codecision COD/1991/346]

10.2.1997

16.12.1999

OJ L 18 of 21.1.1997


Amending act(s)
Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Annexes V , VI , VIII , IX , X , XII , XIII , and XIV : Lists referred to in Article 24 of the Acts of Accession to the European Union of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.

1.5.2004

OJ L 236 of 23.9.2003

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded (Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.2005).

1.1.2007

OJ L 157 of 21.6.2005

Subsequent amendments and corrections to Directive 96/71/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version (FR ) has a purely documentary value”.

Related Acts

EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DIRECTIVE / MONITORING

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services: maximising its benefits and potential while guaranteeing the protection of workers [COM(2007) 304 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Directive 96/71/CE ensures a high level of security for service providers, posted workers and service users. This Communication refers to the application of the Directive in the Member States.

The Commission highlights the importance of access to information and administrative cooperation between the State of origin and the host State. The progress achieved in these areas should enable the obstacles to the freedom to provide services to be removed. However, the advancements are insufficient and workers are not sufficiently informed of their rights.

Impediments for posted workers who are nationals of third countries also still exist, as they can be subject to visa requirements or residence permits. However, in cases where the service provider is established in a Member State, no administrative formality or additional conditions should be imposed.

However, certain measures may be required in order to ensure the protection of posted workers and compliance with the rules of general interest on the condition that they are proportionate and justified. In particular, this relates to certain control measures implemented at national level and in compliance with Article 49 of the EC Treaty on the freedom to provide services.

Communication from the Commission of 4 April 2006 – Guidance on the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services [COM(2006) 159 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 25 July 2003 on the implementation of Directive 96/71/EC in the Member States [COM(2003) 458 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Collective redundancies

Collective redundancies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Collective redundancies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Employment rights and work organisation

Collective redundancies

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies.

Summary

The Directive shall not apply to:

  • collective redundancies effected under contracts of employment concluded for limited periods of time or for specific tasks except where such redundancies take place prior to the date of expiry or the completion of such contracts;
  • workers employed by public administrative bodies or by establishments governed by public law;
  • the crews of seagoing vessels.

Consultations

Any employer contemplating collective redundancies must hold consultations with the workers’ representatives with a view to reaching an agreement. These consultations shall, at least, cover ways and means of avoiding collective redundancies or reducing the number of workers affected, and of mitigating the consequences by recourse to accompanying social measures aimed at redeploying or retraining those workers made redundant.

Information to be provided by the employer

The Directive lays down that Member States may make provision for workers’ representatives to call on the services of experts in accordance with measures in force at national level. The employer is to provide workers’ representatives with all relevant information during the course of the consultations and, in any event, is to notify them of the following in writing:

  • the reasons;
  • the period during which redundancies are to be effected;
  • the number and category of workers normally employed;
  • the number to be made redundant;
  • the criteria used to select those workers to be made redundant;
  • the method used to calculate compensation (where applicable).

Procedure for collective redundancies

The Directive lays down the procedure to be followed:

  • The employer notifies the competent public authority in writing of any projected collective redundancies. This notification must contain all the relevant information concerning the projected redundancies and consultations held, except for the method used to calculate compensation. However, where the cessation of activity is the result of a judicial decision, notification is only necessary at the express request of the authority.
  • The employer forwards a copy of the notification to the workers’ representatives, who may send comments to the competent public authority.
  • Collective redundancies take effect at the earliest 30 days after the notification; the competent public authority uses this period to seek solutions. Member States may grant the public authority the power to reduce this period or to extend it to 60 days following notification in cases where the problems cannot be resolved. This is not compulsory for collective redundancies following a cessation of activity resulting from a judicial decision. Wider powers of extension may be granted. The employer must be informed of any extension and the grounds for it before expiry of the initial period.

Background

The Directive is intended to harmonise Member States’ laws on the procedure and practical arrangements for collective redundancies, in order to afford greater protection to workers in the event of collective redundancies.

The Directive is a consolidated version of Directive 75/129/EEC and Directive 92/56/EEC, which have been repealed.

Member States may apply or introduce provisions which are more favourable to workers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 98/59/EC

1.9.1998

L 225 of 12.8.1998