Documents considered by the Committee on 6 June 2018 Contents

1Posting of Workers Directive

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; drawn to the attention of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Document details

Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services

Legal base

Articles 53(1), 62 TFEU; Ordinary legislative procedure; QMV


Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Document Number

(37591), 6987/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 128

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

1.1In March 2016, the Commission proposed to amend current legislation on the rights available to “posted workers”—those who are temporarily posted to work in one country by a company based in another Member State—in order to apply the principle of “equal pay for equal work in the same place”.

1.2The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Andrew Griffiths) has written1 to explain that agreement has been reached between the European Parliament and Council following the Council’s General Approach last October, although the Directive is yet to be formally adopted. The UK is maintaining its position of abstaining as the balance of the text2 has not been materially changed throughout the inter-institutional negotiations. While some aspects of the text have become clearer, there are some areas where the text is now more legally ambiguous in terms of its legal effect.

1.3In an earlier letter,3 of 21 December, the then Minister (Margot James) had responded to our outstanding queries from our meeting of 22 November, explaining that the UK abstained on the General Approach in October 2017 because it recognised the progress made by the Presidency but that the overall balance of the text was not quite right. The main area of disagreement was on how the revisions would apply to the road transport sector. As to the adoption of this legislation post-Brexit, the Minister was non-committal.

1.4The Directive as agreed has a two-year transposition period, meaning that the UK will be obliged to transpose the legislation into UK law before the end of the post-Brexit implementation period on 31 December 2020. While the Government has always maintained that the amended legislation is unlikely to have a significant impact in the UK given the proportionally small number of postings to and from the UK and given the nature of the labour market, we would welcome information from the Government on plans that it is making to implement the Directive.

1.5We note that agreement has been secured, but that the UK’s position is unchanged. Our interpretation is that the UK plans to abstain in the final vote. We retain the proposal under scrutiny pending final confirmation from the Minister of the Directive’s adoption, the position taken by the Government and the reasons for that position.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services: (37591), 6987/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 128.


1.6Full details of the proposal and its background were set out in our Report of 22 November 2017. In that Report, we noted that agreement was reached at the 23 October Council meeting but that the UK abstained. We made four follow-up requests for information:

1.7On 18 February 2018, we responded to the then Minister’s letter of 21 December, looking forward to a further update and including information on progress made in relation to application of the rules to the road transport sector. We retained the proposal under scrutiny.

Previous Committee Reports

Second Report HC 301–ii (2017–19), chapter 5 (22 November 2017); Sixth Report HC 71–ix (2016–17), chapter 4 (15 June 2016); Thirty-second Report HC 342–xxxi (2015–16), chapter 3 (4 May 2016); Twenty-eighth Report HC 342–xxvii (2015–16), chapter 6 (13 April 2016).

1 Letter from Andrew Griffiths to Sir William Cash dated 5 April 2018.

2 Final compromise text—Council document 7350/18 ADD 1

3 Letter from Margot James to Sir William Cash, dated 21 December 2017.

Published: 12 June 2018