The Council adopted conclusions which recognise that seasonal and other mobile workers across the EU are often exposed to adverse working and living conditions and the risk of exploitation, and are not provided with sufficient information regarding liability and rights. During the COVID-19 pandemic some of these problems have been exacerbated and made even more visible. At the same time, the Council recognises that seasonal and other mobile workers make an important contribution to the internal market, and have continued to do so during the current crisis.
In the conclusions the Council points out the importance of this issue and invites the member states, in accordance with their competences and national circumstances, to fully enforce the EU and national legislation, in particular in the areas of freedom of movement of workers and freedom to provide services, employment of third-country nationals as seasonal workers, as well as working and living conditions. The Council stresses out the importance of information and counselling and invites the member states to provide information in the workers’ language or at least a language they understand. The Council also invites the member states to explore the possibility of setting specific requirements for temporary work and recruitment agencies, so as to ensure that they respect minimum quality standards according to national and EU legislation and, where appropriate, collective agreements. The conclusions suggest evaluating whether inspections currently in place in member states are sufficient to enforce the EU and national legislation and to increase transparency on liability in the case of subcontracting chains.
The Council also calls on the European Commission to conduct a study to collect data on intra-EU seasonal work and identify the main challenges faced, including, where possible, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to assess the areas where the protection of seasonal workers should be enhanced, and make policy recommendations.
The Council points out the essential role of social partners and other EU bodies, especially the European Labour Authority (ELA), which is invited to support member states in all their actions.
The conclusions were adopted by written procedure.