6 March 2018

FIECs remain cautious after agreement on “Posting Directive”

Two years after the initial Commission’s proposal, on 28 February the Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement at the “trilogue” level on the revision of the “Posting” Directive.
Amongst the various issues under discussion :

  •  Remuneration : the principle of “the same pay for the same work at the same workplace” was accepted by both co-legislators. It is the overall amount of remuneration received by a posted worker, not just the “minimum rate of pay” as is the case today, that must meet the level of remuneration laid down in the host Member State.
  • Allowances : expenses made for travel, board and lodging are to be seen separately from remuneration, paid for by the employer and not deductible from workers’ salaries.
  •  Duration : the maximum duration a posted worker can work under only the ‘hard core’ conditions of the Posting of Workers Directive, before all provisions of the labour law of the host country must be met, will be 12 months, with a possible extension of 6 months via a notification by the company to the competent authority in the host country.

FIEC remains cautious as regards the overall outcome of the agreement as it contains several new elements for which the real impact for posting companies or for posted workers is difficult to assess.
Both the Council and the European Parliament have now to formally approve the content of this agreement. The Member States will then have a maximum of 2 years to implement the provisions at their national level.


#investEU: New interactive map shows EU support to SMEs

The financing programmes of the European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) support hundreds of thousands of SMEs and entrepreneurs across Europe. The EIF and the Commission have launched a new interactive map which allows you to see exactly where the money has gone. You can search by financing programme, by sector, or simply zoom in to pinpoint the location that interests you the most.


VAT: Commission checks whether businesses are refunded quickly enough

On 15th February, the European Commission announced that it had launched a verification process to assess whether repayments of VAT to businesses in the Member States comply with European legislation and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU. The European institution stresses that a fast and simple procedure can have a major impact on companies’ cash flows and competitiveness, especially for SMEs. Over the next 8 months, therefore, it will examine the rules of the Member States, particularly the time taken by the procedure, and any needless obstacles. It reserves the right to launch infringement proceedings in case of non-compliance with the European rules. 


Smart Ready Indicator baffles FIEC

Following a meeting of stakeholders in December, DG Energy requested feedback on its study and plans for a Smart Ready Indicator (SRI).  Previously known as a Smartness Indicator, this measure of the capacity of buildings to automatically control and better regulate energy consumption and indoor comfort, amongst other things, first appeared in the proposal for a revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive. After discussion in TEC-3 last week, FIEC does not see what problem DG Energy is trying to solve.  As a starting point, FIEC does not believe the SRI will improve the development of smart buildings,  because this is happening already and digitalisation will further accelerate the process. Moreover, at this stage, the SRI does not appear to have taken sufficient account of existing initiatives, such as Level(s), the voluntary assessment framework for the environmental performance of buildings, launched via a pilot phase last year. Therefore, FIEC is concerned about duplicating measures and additional expense for relevant stakeholders, without any clear benefits.  On the positive side, at least the Commission has accepted that any measures must be technology neutral. The interim report can be found via the link below.