Same work, same pay in the EU

Same work, same pay in the EU

After 1,5 years of negotiations between the European member states about revisions to the 1996 European Posting of Workers Directive, an agreement has been made. Workers on temporary contracts from other EU countries will receive the same wages as their colleagues from the host country.

Less competition

The agreement between the EU countries means that a worker who is posted abroad, in, for example, the Netherlands, will receive the same wages, according to the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO), as his / her Dutch colleagues.

The posting-period of a worker will be limited to 12 months, with the possibility of an extension of 6 months, and the worker will receive the same benefits as his / her host-country colleagues, such as holiday leave and a 13th month of salary as set out in work contracts in the Netherlands.

The EU Ministers from the Ministries of Social Affairs have agreed that the updated European Posting of Workers Directive will come into effect in 2021 and will apply to all EU member states.

The intention of the new European regulation is to discourage unfair competition from cheap labour. Currently, many employers in the EU abuse the 1996 law, and hire workers for less money than their host country counterparts. This is especially the case in the construction sector, manufacturing industry and road transport with workers from countries where wages tend to be lower, such as Poland.

Not all EU member states happy

Ireland, Great Britain and Croatia abstained from voting, and Poland, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania voted against the agreement. Middle and Eastern European countries in particular wanted to up the posting-period to 2 years and postpone the implementation of the legislation to 2022.

Road transport sector

The updated European Posting of Workers Directive does not apply to the transport sector for the time being. Further negotiations will take place between the Transport Ministers until an agreement is reached.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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NicolaDeQuattro 10:20 | 25 October 2017

Do you still think the title is appropriate? From what I know within the EU salaries may vary up to 3 times for same job, responsibilities, wages and life cost. Is this "same work, same pay in the EU? I'd say same work same pay in the hosting country, which emphasizes again the individualist aspects of this union. Saying it differently:"move to the richer countries within the EU, you will earn more doing exactly the same you are doing now.".

minasolanki 10:31 | 25 October 2017

Hi NicolaDeQuattro, Thank you for your comment. The title refers to the fact that the new regulation will apply to all EU member states. I of course understand that pay varies depending on the EU country which you work in. Have a nice day.