The EU Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive (2019/1152): What Do You Need to Know?

Posted on 17 August 2023 by IRIS FMP

As of August 2022, member states across the EU (European Union) were asked to transpose new legislative changes from the EU Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive into national law. Its inclusion offers additional rights to over 182 million workers and improves the employment rights for up to 3 million employees with flexible and non-standard working patterns.

What is the EU Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive?

For every worker within the EU, this directive offers guidance on minimum employee rights that every employer and organization operating in the EU must follow. Each member state collectively agrees to practice these rights and can choose to enhance them further. However, there is no obligation to go above and beyond legislative requirements. While employers must adopt working regulations, they can choose to offer their employees more than the legal requirement.

For example, the EU Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive states that employees must receive free, mandatory training that is relevant to their role. An example of a corporation exceeding legislative expectations could be that they offer additional training courses, free of charge.

What changes for employees within the EU?

The new rules introduced by the EU update the labor rights for around 182 million workers within the EU. At a top level, this directive enables employees the rights to:

  • Have more predictability regarding their working conditions, such as forewarning before project work must be undertaken.
  • Receive timely and complete information that covers essential aspects regarding their working conditions, including remuneration and place of work.

Broken down, these new rights guarantee employees more stability and understanding of their working conditions. Covered under these, employees will also be entitled to:

  • Complete information about their work conditions early, and in writing.
  • A limited amount of time on a probation period.
  • The opportunity to accept a second job with a different employer.
  • Receive free, mandatory training that is relevant to the job they do.
  • Measures used to prevent any abuse of a zero-hour contract.
  • Receive a written request to transfer to a different, more secure job.
  • Reasonable notice when a piece of work needs to be completed.

Originally, this directive was covered by local laws from 1st August 2022, but it left some discrepancies for part-time and temporary workers, as well as contractors. These changes, implemented by the EU, should now enable up to 3 million workers the right to predictable working schedules and further rights surrounding their conditions for employment.

Group of employees sat together

How do employers need to prepare?

By 1st August 2022, all EU member states must have brought the directive into national law. That means any legislative changes are now live. For employers entering their business into these countries or hiring locals, you’ll need to check if there are any countries with exceptions or enhancements in place.

1. Identify country-specific changes

Firstly, employers will need to follow local legislative changes, including the date bills are drafted and when consultation takes place. Some countries, such as Austria, already encapsulate the key points from this Directive in their local laws. However, there can also be delays if certain criteria of the Directive are considered illegal. For example, Austrian legislation notes that “work-on-demand” is illegal, causing conflict with the Directive that allows “work-on-demand” when conditions are met.

Member states, countries belonging to the EU, could amend legislation to fit in with their local laws and must communicate this by the specified deadline. As of May 2023, 19 countries had not confirmed the Directive was added to national law. When this happens, the European Commission can launch a formal infringement procedure against the member states. If it remains unresolved, it can reach the Court of Justice. Until legislation is implemented locally, employers won’t need to act.

2. Review standard employment agreement templates

Employee contracts will differ from country to country, but you’ll need to capture all changes from the Directive, alongside local law, and amend them for affected workers. If you’re operating anywhere in the EU, and hiring staff within member states, you must communicate these employee rights clearly within relevant contracts.

This Directive isn’t aimed at a selected portion of employees, but rather at 182 million employees across the EU. It’s designed to cover rights for:

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Permanent employees
  • Temporary employees
  • Casual employees
  • Domestic employees
  • Those on either platform or voucher-based work
  • Zero-hours employees

It’s likely that those with flexible and non-standard working patterns, such as casual employees, will see the most difference from the Directive. However, these legislative changes enable all workers to have the same predictable and transparent working conditions.

3. Revise employee handbooks and policies

Similar to the US, employers in the EU are not legally obligated to supply their employees with a handbook. However, many companies choose to do this anyway to ensure transparency and cohesive communication of policies across their workforce. If this is the case for your company, you’ll need to consider updating it to reflect upcoming and enforced legislative changes. While you don’t need it from a compliance perspective, it helps to have a central location for all employment-related notes or queries.

Workplace policies will also need to be updated to reflect legislative changes. Again, these aren’t legally binding, like a contract of employment, but they do help employees have a clear perspective on their rights. Certain countries will also have their own set of workplace policies, such as Portugal, that need to be displayed and shared with employees. If any of these policies are affected by the Directive, they’ll need to be updated.

4. Alter the onboarding process

As part of the onboarding process, you’ll need to ensure that new hires receive complete information regarding their role and the ways of working expected from them during their employment. These will need to include their working conditions supplied in a written format. Verbal agreements are no longer an acceptable practice.

Consistent and clear messaging about employment rights will need to be included as part of the onboarding process, particularly if you are hiring talent from one of the EU’s member states. This is a good idea to include anyway, even outside the EU, as it ensures all employees are familiar with your company’s approach towards working conditions.

Group of colleagues meeting together

How does the Directive benefit employers?

Despite the vast number of changes, this directive will also benefit employers. As well as offering a foundation for a good working culture, employers will remain in line with recent legislative changes across the labor markets toward worker protection.

✓ Compliance with labor market developments

As an overseas employer, you have more pressure to get compliance right the first time. If you maintain and exceed compliance, you will appear more attractive to potential hires. There is danger in ignorance towards legislative changes that can spark even bigger problems for businesses, which everyone wants to avoid. By doing so, your company will also be able to adapt when labor market developments continue to evolve.

✓ Encourage fairer competition amongst talent pools

By adopting the changes, you open yourself up to an even greater talent pool. You also remove any uncertainty during the application process, meaning less time wasted on incompatible workers.

✓ More motivated and productive workforce

Employees who have everything they need to do their jobs are more likely to be happier. Likewise, with restrictions placed on employers spontaneously amending conditions, there is less likelihood that sudden or unexpected changes can be made. Your workforce will feel more secure in their jobs due to this.

✓ Reduction of administrative hurdles

This Directive enables companies to provide information electronically instead of through word of mouth. With this option available, employers can automate the process, relieving some time from their HR departments.

✓ Clear service delivery for clients

With employees following set working patterns, and given forewarning before they change, businesses can continue to guarantee a reliable and consistent service to their clients. Companies are able to set their clients’ expectations based on a clear working structure for employees.

Global HR has never been easier with IRIS FMP

To save you the hassle of updating employee documentation and tracking legislative changes, our International HR service manages it all for you. From compliance to employee onboarding, we assist you at every stage. Enquire today.