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Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers

Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services


Directive 96/71/EC aims at avoiding social dumping by establishing a list of working conditions which posted workers must be granted in the host country.

In contrast to migrant EU workers, who live abroad on a regular basis and who are entitled to equal treatment in employment and working conditions, posted workers are sent by an employer on a temporary basis e.g. for realising a project. The non-national employer might be tempted to underbid national competitors by making use of lower labour standards.


The Directive defines a list of working and employment conditions which must be applied to posted workers, e.g.

  • maximum work periods;
  • minmum rest periods;
  • minimum paid annual leave;
  • minimum rates of pay and overtime rates - minimum rates are defined by the national law or practice of the Member State to whose territory the worker is posted;
  • equal treatment of men and women and non-discrimination;
  • the conditions of hiring-out of workers;
  • protective measures for vulnerable workers (e.g. young workers, pregnant workers and mothers who have recently given birth);
  • health and safety at work in general.

In order to strengthen the practical application, Directive 2014/67/EU  on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC was adopted. The Enforcement Directive addresses fraud, the circumvention of rules (e.g. via letter-box companies) and the exchange of information between the Member States. It contains a list of national control measures which can be applied in order to monitor compliance.

Read the full text of the consolidated version of the Directive (including corrections for certain languages)

Read the full text of the original Directive (without corrections)

National measures implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

See also information of the European Commission - DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion:

Posted workers - Webpage

Proposal on a reform of the posted workers legislation - News (2016)

Posting of Workers Directive: Current situation and challenges - Study (2017)

The revision of the posting of workers directives (2017)