Better coordination of social security systems: 12 points-plan of construction SMEs and craftsmen

The European Builders Confederation (EBC) considers that the revision of the Regulations on coordination of social security systems (883/2004 and 987/2009) is an opportunity to strengthen the social dimension of the European Union, especially in the field of posting of workers. The revision will give national authorities concrete means to check posted workers’ social security status and to remedy unfair or abusive practices, considering that several abuses of social security contributions come from posting activities.

EBC President Patrick Liébus stated: “The current European framework for the coordination of social security systems offers leeway for unfair competition for construction SMEs and unfair treatment for workers who are deprived of the effective exercise of their social and labour rights. We need legislative and practical remedies to the lack of coordination within and between Member States, the lack of transparency and understanding of the existing rules, and their uneven and inadequate application”.

Although EBC supports the revision of the Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009, European institutions should take into account Construction SMEs’ and craftsmen’ proposals to improve the coordination of social security systems in the European Union. Full details of this twelve-point plan are available in EBC position paper on Coordination of Social Security Systems.

Social security rules for posted workers should reflect labour market reality

  • Hosting country social security rules should apply after 6 months of the start of the posting activity, and possible derogations should follow the rules of the Posting of Workers Directive;
  • The posted employee should have been affiliated to the social security system of his country of origin for at least 6 months before the beginning of the posting activity;
  • The “substantial activity” of the employer in the Member State of origin should be better defined and any threshold should be at least 25% of total turnover;
  • For workers active in two or more Member States, a maximum time limit should be introduced after which the situation of the worker has to be reviewed;
  • Social security rules must be applicable to non-EU posted workers that do not have their legal place of residence within the EU;
More reliable and transparent information on A1 forms is needed

  • The PD A1 form should be standardised, developed in an electronic format, and social partners should be consulted on its details.
  • PD A1 forms have to be issued before the start of the posting activity, with no retroactive effect;
  • The hosting Member State should be entitled to assess whether the PD A1 form is genuine and refuse it in some circumstances;
  • A common European electronic database of PD A1 forms should be created to facilitate the cooperation between labour inspectorates and Member States;
Enforcement of social security rules should be improved at the national level

  • Member States should ensure that a high-quality and successful inspection system is in place and that fines and sanctions are proportional and appropriate to the infringement of the rules.
  • A EU-wide black list should be created for enterprises breaching the European labour and social legislation, including letterbox companies;
  • The European Commission should monitor and disseminate best practices on fraud prevention and controls in private dwellings.