A deadline for EU member states to transpose a new directive aimed at strengthening protection for workers into national law passed yesterday (1 August).
The directive on transparent and predictable working conditions gives workers the right to more predictability in their working conditions – including assignments and working time.
The European Commission says that the new rules also give workers the right to receive “timely and more complete information” about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and pay.
‘Fast-changing’ labour markets
Nicolas Schmit (Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights) described the directive as “a direct response to the fast-changing reality of our labour markets”.
Other elements of the directive include:
- A limit to the length of probationary periods at the beginning of the job to six months,
- The right to be informed within a reasonable period in advance when work will have to be done – especially for workers with unpredictable working schedules and on-demand work,
- Measures that prevent abuse of zero-hour-contract work,
- Cost-free mandatory training related to the job, where the employer has a duty to provide this.
The commission estimates that an additional two to three million workers in precarious forms of employment – including part-time, temporary and on-demand work – will now receive rights to information about their conditions of employment, and new protections.
In Ireland, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment held a public consultation on the directive late last year, but draft legislation to implement it has not yet been published.
The department said at the time that the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 had pre-empted many aspects of the directive, but added that the new rules included further changes, and would require legislation to give them full effect.
Law firm Lewis Silkin said last week that, while some of the requirements were already part of Irish law, it was not yet known what redress – including possible compensation – the Workplace Relations Commission would be able to order against employers who failed to comply with the directive.