New legislation on posted workers

From 17 December 2016, a revised Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act (the “Act”) has given effect to the 2014 EU Directive (2014/67/EU) concerning enforcement of the Posted Workers Directive and aims to improve working conditions for workers posted to Estonia to provide services.

General framework of the Act

The Act provides measures to improve the rights of posted workers including:

  • placing an obligation upon employers, service buyers or persons providing work for the posted workers to submit data and documents to the Estonian Labour Inspectorate
  • in the construction sector, introducing liability for the purchasers of services performed by posted workers
  • clarifying the authority of the Labour Inspectorate to improve administrative cooperation between the member states
  • establishing the regulation of cross-border monetary administrative measures

Some practical examples

Employers posting workers to Estonia are now required to provide the local Employment Inspectorate with data on the employer (name, identification code, field of activity, contact details) and also, contact details of the employer-representative, the number of posted workers and their names, dates of birth, details on location of work and user entity in Estonia.

As an illustration of the effects of the revised Act, a builder who works as a posted worker in Estonia, for example, now has the right to reclaim payment of salary from the local enterprise if the employer has failed to pay and the court has made an award in the worker’s favour. Previously, attempts by workers to enforce a court judgment against the employer have proved unsuccessful. The amount the worker is able to recover in this way, however, is limited to the minimum salary currently in force in Estonia.

Also, on a construction site, when the Estonian Labour Inspectorate establishes that an employer from another member state has not fulfilled its obligations deriving from Occupational Health and Safety Act, the financial penalty can now be enforced by the implementing authority in whichever member state the employer resides.

Within Estonia itself, where a request for enforcement of a penalty concerning the infringement of posted worker rights is submitted to the Republic of Estonia by another member state, the Labour Inspectorate will act as claimant to pursue the offending employer.