Posted Workers are people who normally work in one EU Member State but, for a limited time, are assigned to carry out work in Ireland. New European regulations will provide more control and better protection for these workers while they are in Ireland. We examine the impact of these new regulations on Irish employers.

The Regulations, which came into effect on 27 July 2016, introduce a number of new measures aimed at improving the employment rights for workers posted to Ireland. The Regulations ensure Foreign Service Providers such as employers in other Member States comply with the labour standards of Ireland. Any immigration requirements that may apply to workers posted to Ireland are outside the scope of this article.

Key Measures

The key measures introduced by the Regulations are:

  • Where a Foreign Service Provider posts a worker to Ireland it must provide certain information to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in advance of the worker commencing employment. Such information includes:
    • the identity of the Foreign Service Provider;
    • the anticipated number of clearly identifiable posted workers;
    • the anticipated duration and envisaged beginning and end dates of the posting of each worker;
    • the address of the workplace to which each worker is to be posted; and
    • the nature of the services justifying the posting.
  • The Foreign Service Provider must also ensure certain information is made available to the WRC in respect of each posted worker, if requested. This includes:
    • a copy of his/her contract of employment;
    • his or her payslips or equivalent documents;
    • where relevant, time sheets or equivalent documents, indicating the beginning, end and duration of his/her daily working time; and
    • proof of payment of wages.
  • Where a Foreign Service Provider does not comply with the administrative requirements and the specific control measures outlined above, they will be guilty of an offence under the Regulations and may be subject to a fine of up to €50,000.
  • The Regulations introduce the concept of subcontracting liability in the construction sector. Where a posted worker’s employer is a direct subcontractor of a contractor, the Regulations provide that the direct employer (ie subcontractor) and the contractor can be held jointly and severally liable for any unpaid wages due to the posted worker for work done under the contractual relationship between the contractor and the posted worker’s employer.
  • The Regulations also introduce new measures to enable the enforcement of cross-border penalties and fines. Competent authorities in other EU Member States can request the WRC to enforce penalties or fines against the Service Provider that is established in Ireland.

Conclusion

These Regulations are of particular importance to organisations with an international presence whose employees regularly travel throughout the EU as part of their role. Notably, the Regulations do not specify a minimum period of time the worker must be working in Ireland in order to be categorised as a “Posted Worker”. It could be argued a worker attending a business meeting in Ireland could be considered a “Posted Worker”; however, it is not likely that such individuals are the intended target of the Regulations. Such a strict interpretation of the Regulations could prove to be administratively cumbersome for Foreign Service Providers and the WRC alike. Only time will tell as to whether strict compliance with the Regulations will be enforced by the WRC.