Commission reviews application of EU rules on Temporary Agency Work

March 31, 2014

All Member States have adopted measures to implement Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work and have in general done so correctly and applied its provisions in practice. These are the main findings of a report just published by the European Commission.

The deadline for Member States to implement the Directive was December 2011. The report concludes that it is not necessary to amend the Directive but that the Commission will rather focus on ensuring its proper implementation.

Effective framework in place. Thanks to the Directive, there is now in all Member States a framework providing for the effective protection of temporary agency workers, better quality agency work and recognition of agency work’s positive contribution to the functioning of modern labour markets through its flexible use by employers.

The report also highlights that most Member States consider that the Directive does not give rise to additional costs on national authorities, temporary-work agencies or user companies, including small and medium-sized businesses.

However, the report indicates that further work is needed with Member States and social partners to ensure that the Directive fully achieves its goals, in particular in two areas:

certain derogations from the principle of equal treatment allowed by the Directive may have been used in such a way as to prevent the application of the Directive from improving in practice the protection of agency workers

the review of restrictions and prohibitions on the use of temporary agency work – although Member States have reviewed them as required by the Directive, and a few restrictive measures have been removed, in most cases Member States have maintained the status quo. In a number of Member States, the further removal of some restrictions and prohibitions is still being considered.

Next steps. The Commission, in close co-operation with national governments and EU level employee and employer representatives, will continue to ensure that the Directive is correctly implemented in all EU Member States and that its goals are achieved.

If necessary, the Commission will also launch infringement proceedings against Member States.