Amendments to the Posted Workers Act: proposals of the tripartite working group sent out for consultation
The tripartite working group proposes amendments to the Posted Workers Act that helps to ensure that local and posted workers doing the same job at the same place will have the same working and wage conditions. The amendments would also promote equal competition between foreign and domestic companies.
The working group’s proposals are based on revisions to the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the posting of workers. Finland’s current regulation already complies with the requirements of the amending directive regarding the compulsory extension of the scope of application to other sectors besides the construction sector. In addition, the existing national law guarantees equal treatment of posted agency workers with national agency workers.
The terms of employment of posted workers continue to be determined by law and generally binding collective agreements. The proposed amendments to the national law would provide for salary instead of minimum wage, thereby clarifying the provisions applicable to posted workers. In the future, accommodation quality requirements would also apply to posted workers.
In addition to the provisions of collective agreements on working hours, annual holidays and occupational safety, application of other provisions regarding compensation, supplements and financial benefits is proposed in long-term postings of more than 12 months. The threshold period for terms of additional work could be extended to 18 months at the employer’s justified request.
Posting of workers means a situation where a foreign employer sends an employee to Finland for work.
The employee must normally work outside Finland and the posting must be of limited duration.
The employee can be sent to Finland to do subcontracting work, temporary agency work or as part of a group-internal transfer.
Compensation for travel, accommodation and meal expenses
The amending directive requires that the employer is obliged to compensate the posted worker’s travel, accommodation and meal expenses incurred during travel from the worker’s regular workplace in Finland during the posting.
The working group also proposes a provision ensuring minimum protection related to the costs of accommodation and travel from the country of origin to Finland. The protection provision would apply in situations where the posted worker is not entitled to protection on the basis of the law, standard practice or employment contract of the country of origin, or the protection would be substantially below what is considered normal and reasonable for the work in question in Finland. The proposal draws attention to the terms of employment in the Finnish labour market model and, in particular, in collective agreements in the construction sector, which are generally applied as minimum conditions. The proposal reconciles the level of protection in the country of origin, protection agreed in the employment contract, and protection in the country of employment.
If there was any uncertainty as to the nature of the payment, it would be regarded as compensation for expenses and not as wage or salary. In this case, it would not be taken into account in the pay comparison, i.e. in the assessment of the fulfilment of employment conditions in Finland.
The working group also proposes changes to the notification concerning posted employees. The duty to notify would be extended to all posted workers. Conversely, efforts will be made to reduce the administrative burden of companies related to posting by revising the notification system.
Consultation period until 23 April 2020, amendments to enter into force at the end of July
The deadline for comments on the working group’s proposals is 23 April 2020. The government bill would enter into force on 30 July 2020, by which time the amending directive will have to be implemented. Amendments concerning prior notification of posting would enter into force after the completion of technical revisions on 1 October 2021.
The working group proposes a 12-month transition period for agreements concluded before the entry into force of the Act. This would give companies an opportunity to make adjustments to their agreements reflecting the legislative amendments.
The new proposals would not apply to work in the road transport sector. The specific regulation concerning road transport will be examined in connection with the implementation of the EU transport package.
Päivi Kantanen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +258 295 048 938