Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions enters into effect
As of 1 August 2022, employers in the EU must comply with a new EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions. We have summarised the most important items employers must now take into account.
The new EU directive aims to further improve employees’ protection and working conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment. The directive applies to all employees who work more than three hours per week over a four-week period (that is, more than 12 hours per month). Given its broad scope, the directive covers relatively new (and sometimes more precarious) working arrangements, such as platform work, hybrid work and zero hours contracts (on-demand work).
To achieve its goals, the directive sets out a number of key requirements:
- Employees must be informed in writing about essential elements of the employee's work, now also including:
- All components of remuneration, including allowances, pension scheme, special leave schemes, and training entitlements;
- The duration and conditions of probationary periods, which should not exceed six months; and
- Procedures to be observed by the employer and the employee in case of termination of the employment contract.
- Employees are allowed to perform ancillary work for other employers. Restrictions on this right can be justified only on legitimate grounds, such as the protection of business secrets, health and safety, or the avoidance of conflicts of interests.
- Workers subject to on-demand contracts and/or employees with unpredictable work patterns must be informed, among others, of:
- The number of guaranteed paid hours;
- Their reference hours and days, that is, the hours and days within which they may be required to work. Employees must be allowed to refuse assignments that do not fall within the reference hours and days, without adverse consequences; and
- The deadline for the employer to cancel a job assignment; and
- On-demand employees or those with unpredictable work patterns are entitled to a written reply to a request for transfer to a more secure job, such as a job involving fixed working hours instead of a zero-hour contract; and
- Employees must receive cost-free mandatory training related to the job when the employer has a duty to provide such training. This includes not only the cost of training but also the (working) time required for the mandatory training.
Employers must ensure that their employment contracts and their HR policies comply with the new rules. Workers who believe their rights are being breached can pursue domestic remedies through, for example, employment courts.
The employment lawyers of BDO Legal across the EU can assist clients to determine the implications of the new legislation in their particular situation, reviewing and updating current employment contracts to make sure these are fully aligned with the latest requirements.
Miguel Van Wijck