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EU: The TPWC Directive and Work-Life Balance Directive have entered into force: several member states are lagging behind with its transposition

  1. TPWC Directive

This Directive is the follow-up of the Written Statement Directive and thus provides workers with the right to receive timely and more complete information in written about the essential aspects of their work, in principle within a week (or month) as from the start of their contract. However, the Directive goes further than this right to information and provides some new minimum rights for the workers, e.g. a prohibition on probationary periods of longer than 6 months, and in case of mandatory training, the obligation to provide this cost-free to workers. The time spent on training shall count as working time, and if possible, take place during working hours. Further, the use of exclusivity clauses is restricted. This implies that the employer cannot prevent employees from taking up parallel employment with another employer unless it is justified based on an objective ground (such as health and safety, the protection of business confidentiality, the integrity of the public service or the avoidance of conflicts of interests). Next, the Directive obliges a minimum predictability of work. It also establishes complementary measures for on-demand employment.

Member States had until 1 August 2022 to implement the EU Directive into domestic law. The Netherlands, Italy and Austria are some of the member states who have transposed the Directive in time. E.g., in the Netherlands, the “Wet flexibel werken” has been modified and came into force on 1 August 2022. Some jurisdictions, such as Belgium, Spain and Greece have missed the deadline. Belgium has prepared a draft legislative proposal but it has not yet been submitted to the Parliament for approval.

  1. Work-Life Balance Directive

The Work-Life Balance Directive introduces minimum standards for paternity, parental and carer’s leave. Working fathers now have right to 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of their child. This has to be compensated at least at the level of sick pay. Four months of parental leave is granted to each parent of which two months is compensated and non-transferable. Further, the Directive establishes carer’s leave which entails 5 days of leave per year for workers who provide personal care or support to a relative. Next, it extends the right to request flexible working arrangements.

Also this Directive had to be transposed into domestic law by the deadline of 2 August 2022. Again Italy and the Netherlands, have transposed the Directive in time, as well as Sweden. Spain has once more failed to meet the deadline. Belgium already partially complies with elements of the Directive. Also here the necessary draft legislative proposals have not yet been submitted to parliament.

  1. Consequences of non-transposition

Since national laws will have to be modified in order to guarantee the increased standards of the Directives, all employers operating in the EU should keep a close eye on the further development of this matter.

The EU Commission will continue to monitor the implementation and if and where necessary, take formal legal action for non-compliance against the Member States. In case of countries which have transposed the Directives, the Commission will assess the completeness and compliance of the national measures notified by each Member State, and take action if and where necessary.

Take aways:

  • Employers should closely follow up the transposition of the Directives as the national laws will probably force them to amend their standard employment contracts and other HR practices.