Saturday

10th Dec 2016

Non-EU seasonal workers to get equal rights

  • Seasonal fruit pickers are among those set to benefit from EU rules voted Wednesday (Photo: Manchester-Monkey)

Foreign seasonal workers in the EU will have the same employment and social rights as their EU counterparts, under new rules adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday (5 February).

MEPs in Strasbourg signed off on the bloc's first set of pan-EU rules on temporary seasonal workers which will give them the same work-place rights as EU nationals on minimum pay, working hours, holidays, and health and safety requirements.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission estimates that over 100,000 third-country seasonal workers come to the EU every year.

The legislation requires all applications to enter the EU as a seasonal worker to include a work contract or a binding job offer specifying essentials such as pay and working hours.

In one of the main concessions from governments to MEPs, it will also have to include evidence that the worker will have appropriate accommodation.

It will also give workers the right to move employment at least once and includes the threat of sanctions for unscrupulous employers.

However, governments will retain the right to decide how many seasonal workers they allow into their country each year, although they will be required to fix a maximum length of stay for non-EU seasonal workers, of between five and nine months over a 12-month period.

Governments will now have two and a half years to put the new rules into effect.

Speaking at a press conference following the vote, Claude Moraes, the British Labour MEP who piloted the bill through parliament, said that the "historic legislation" was the EU's "first piece of law on low-waged labour."

He added that the legislation, which has been three years in the making, had been drawn up in the wake of a series of scandals revealing exploitation of seasonal workers.

"People have been working in circumstances of semi-slavery," commented Spanish MEP Alejandro Cercas, who led for the parliament's employment committee on the new rules. "We simply cannot have an EU worthy of the name if we are going to treat people in such an undignified way," he concluded.

EU asylum return focus expands police scrutiny

EU interior ministers agreed to start legislative talks with the EU parliament to expand the scope of an asylum database, Eurodac, to include migrants and stateless people.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The Brexit picture starts to emerge

The week in Westminster and Brussels highlight the difficulty Theresa May faces in trying to keep control of the Brexit timetable.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First