On 13 June
2019, the Council of Ministers approved the Directive on transparent and reliable working
conditions adopted by the European Parliament on 16 April
2019. The legislation introduces new minimum rights and rules on information on
working conditions to be made available to workers. Member States now have
three years to transpose the Directive into national law.
The Directive is closely linked to the
proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by the European Parliament, the
Council and the Commission on 17 November 2017. The aim is to extend the
protection of workers in non-standard forms of employment (see also article Feb-2019).
Overview of the Directive
The new Directive will apply to workers
in Europe who work more than 12 hours a month. It will also apply to forms of
employment which, up to now, have not been sufficiently protected. This includes
domestic workers, part-time workers and those with very short contracts. New
forms of employment will also be covered, such as on-demand workers, voucher-based
workers and platform workers.
Employer’s obligation to provide information when establishing an employment relationship
An employer is obliged to inform the
employee promptly of the essential conditions of the employment relationship.
This changes the previous provisions of the Directive on an employer’s obligation to provide
information. The German Act on Notification of Conditions, which is a transposition of the Council
Directive, requires employers to document the essential employment conditions
in writing, sign the documentation and hand it over to the employee no later
than one month after the agreed commencement of the employment relationship.
According to the new Regulation, the
employer must provide the employee with the most important information within
the first week (electronic format is now also possible) and all further
information within the first month. This most important information includes
the personal details of the parties to the employment relationship, the place
of work, the type of work, the agreed working hours, the initial basic amount
of remuneration and the amount of paid leave.
There are additional rules for
on-demand work. An employer must inform the employee of the time slots in which
they can be asked to work, the minimum notice period they are to receive prior
to the start of a work order, and the number of guaranteed paid hours.
Minimum conditions for workers
The Directive sets out a number of
additional minimum rights for workers, including the following:
- they can simultaneously take up employment
with another employer;
- the probation period shall not exceed six
- longer probation periods are permissible only
if this in the interest of the employee or is justified by the nature of
- workers who have worked with the same employer
for at least six months may request a form of employment with more
predictable and secure working conditions; and
- training must be provided free of cost if
required by Union or national law.
Right of recourse for workers
The Directive provides Member States
with two options for responding to a failure to inform a worker:
Either there is a presumption, which
the employer can rebut, that the worker concerned is employed full-time and
without a probationary period for an indefinite period if the employer does not
inform them of the duration, scope and probationary period,
the worker has the opportunity to lodge
a complaint with a competent authority in a timely manner and to receive a
satisfactory reply within a reasonable time period. If the competent authority
finds that the complaint is justified, it shall instruct the employer or
employers concerned to provide the missing information. If the employer fails
to provide the missing information within the time limit set by the competent
authority after receipt of the instruction, the authority shall have the
possibility of imposing an appropriate penalty, even after the end of the
The burden of proof in the event of dismissal has
now been reversed. If the employer terminates the employment relationship and
the employee disputes this, the burden of proof now lies with the employer to
prove that this dismissal did not take place because the employee exercised the
rights provided for in the Directive.