Across the EU, employers have the freedom to supply their services and to send  (or 'post') their own workers temporarily to another member state to deliver those services. Posted workers in this sense are protected by a 1996 Directive which sets out core terms and conditions which must be observed by the employer while its worker is working in another country.

Trade unions and some member states have expressed concerns over alleged abuse of posted workers and non-compliance with the Directive. This resulted in the Commission publishing in March a proposal for a new Directive aimed at ensuring better enforcement of the 1996 Directive. The draft Directive has particular consequences for sub-contracting practices in the construction sector (where it proposes the introduction of joint and several liability, which may also be extended beyond construction by member states) and, more generally, has been criticised by employer bodies as imposing excessive costs and administration.

Currently, the proposal is being considered by the European Parliament's Employment Committee, with a report expected by the end of the year. Critics in the Committee have already expressed a view that the draft Directive may make it more difficult for companies to post workers within the internal market and contains too many legal uncertainties.