EU Law Strengthens Rights of ‘Nonstandard Workers’ 

EU Law Strengthens Rights of ‘Nonstandard Workers’
24 June 2019

An EU directive that aims to respond to new types of employment and make working conditions more transparent and predictable for “nonstandard workers,” and that generally applies to anyone working more than three hours a week over a four-week period — or 12 hours a month — was recently agreed to by the EU Council. Nonstandard workers include those on temporary, part-time and short-term contract work; individuals who do on-demand, and digital platform work, and workers engaged through temporary agencies. Certain groups of workers may be excluded from some of the requirements, such as civil servants, armed forces, emergency services or law enforcement services. Member states will have three years to implement the directive into national laws and can adopt provisions that are more favorable for employees.


Highlights of the directive include the following:

  • Employers must tell a worker no later than the seventh calendar day after the worker’s start date about the essential aspects of the job, including:

─     The parties to the employment relationship

─     The place and nature of the work

─     The initial amount of remuneration and paid leave

─     The standard working day or week if the work pattern is predictable

─     The reference hours and days if the work pattern is entirely or largely unpredictable, the amount of advance notification of the work schedule and the number of guaranteed paid hours

─     The social security institution that will receive contributions where these are the employer’s responsibility

  • The ability to take a job with another employer
  • The terms of probationary periods:

─     Probationary periods must be capped at six months except for certain types of work and where a longer probationary period is in the worker’s interests.

─     After six months, workers can request employment with more predictable and secure working conditions.

  • The availability of training required by either EU or national laws free of charge to the employee

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