Most important & complex research on the posting of workers in the EU
In December 2017, Frederic De Wispelaere and Jozef Pacolet from HIVA-KU Leuven published their annual report on A1 Portable Documents issued in 2016 ordered by the European Commission. The report analyzes the changes from both sending and receiving perspective, with a special focus on the posting of workers, in particular in the context of the revision of Directive 96/71/EC and the revision of the Regulation EC No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems. In appreciation for their research the authors were granted the Labor Mobilis 2017 Award.
Subject of the research
As in their previous reports, researchers focus attention on the fact that the statistical data is only an indication, as the number of PDs A1 issued may not fully reflect the reality of the posting of workers. This is due to the fact that the status of posted workers is regulated by the Directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers, and not by Regulation EC No 883/2004, which takes into account both posted workers and persons who are active in two or more Member States as well as the self-employed. Noteworthy, the Directive on the posting of workers has been modified and the final version was adopted in June 2018, and changes will enter into force on the 30th of June 2020.
The number of A1 Portable Documents issued in 2016
According to the report, a total of 2.3 million A1 PDs were issued in 2016, which means the overall number of A1 PDs issued increased by 12% in comparison to 2015 (2.05 million A1 PDs), which reflected an increase by 7% in comparison with 2014. The share of A1 PDs issued for persons active in two or more Member States has grown from 25% in 2015 to 27.3% in 2016.
If it comes to posted workers, about 1.6 million PDs A1 were issued, which corresponds to 966,939 individuals according to Frederic De Wispelaere and Jozef Pacolet. In their report they also say the total number of individual persons involved amounts to 0.6% of total EU employment, which correspond to 0.4% of total employment in full-time equivalents (FTE). In Poland, where 513,972 PDs A1 were issued, that represents up to 1.2% of national employment and 0.6% of total employment in FTE.
EU-15 Member States lead in both: sending and receiving the posted workers
Considering the posting of workers, most of PDs A1 were issued to Germany (440,065 postings), France (203,019) and Belgium (178,319), which are countries to which Polish workers are posted most. We can notice that 56% of the PDs A1 applicable to posted workers were issued by EU-15 Member States and 44% by EU-13 Member States, while about 85% of postings were received by EU-15 Member States.
The position of Poland and the importance of the construction sector
If it comes to Poland and posted workers, the country issued most of the PDs A1 in 2016 (259,999), which represents 22% of the total number of PDs A1 issued. Basing on partial data, this represents an estimated number of individual persons involved of 193,891, from which we can say that Poland is the country from which are posted most of workers.
Workers form Poland were posted mainly to Germany (130,716), France (30,970), and Belgium (26,728). Half of these posted workers from Poland worked in the construction sector (50.6%), when the average rate of posted workers in this sector in the Member States amounts to 45% of them. The share of posted workers form Poland working in the construction sector represents 8% of total employment in this sector in the country, when the share of posted workers in the construction sector in Slovenia amounts up to 48.8%. According to the report, a posted worker from Poland spent an average of 180 days abroad in 2016, which fits in the European average (170 days).
In the construction sector, the share of postings in national employment in Belgium, from a receiving point of view, amounts up to 26.7%, when in France it represents ‘only’ 4.8%. Other Member States, where the share of posted workers in the construction sector is significant, are Luxembourg (25.4%) and Austria (19.1%).
A constant growth of the number of PDs A1 issued
The number of PDs A1 issued has been constantly growing during the last five years, as the number of PDs A1 issued in 2016 represents an increase of 58% between 2011 and 2016. The number of PDs A1 issued for posting according to Article 12 of the Regulation on the coordination of social security systems increased by 8.6% compared to 2015, and the number of PDs A1 issued to persons active in two or more Member States according to Article 13 of the Regulation increased by 21.9% compared to 2015. The construction sector is still the sector in which PDs A1 were issued most.
After the revision of the Directive on posted workers was passed this year and will enter into force by the end of June 2020, and after protectionist legislation was passed or is to be passed in some EU-15 countries such as France, we can wonder if it will have an influence on the number of PDs A1 issued and on the number of posted workers from EU-13 Member States, which has been constantly growing up since these countries enter the UE and the single market.