Proposed changes to labour leasing laws

Following announcements since the last general elections, a proposal has now been made to amend existing labour leasing laws. A legislative proposal was circulated in November and focuses on the following key aspects:

  • Maximum duration: Temporary work by way of labour leasing shall be limited to a duration of 18 consecutive months with the same hirer. Any period of prior leasing by the same or another lender to the same hirer will count towards this maximum duration if the break in between the periods of temporary work is no longer than six months. The maximum term for temporary work can be amended by collective agreements.
  • Equal working conditions: The lender is obliged to grant the temporary workers the same basic working conditions including the same amount of remuneration received by comparable employees in the operation of the hirer. While exceptions are possible, eg through collective bargaining agreements, different remuneration may only be paid within the first nine months of the leasing.
  • Distinction between work and service contracts and labour leasing: The proposed law now states criteria to distinguish between labour leasing and the use of labour due to a contract of work and labour. This aims to avoid circumventions of the stricter labour leasing laws.
  • Prohibition on using leased employees during strikes: It shall be prohibited to use leased labour during strikes. Companies would therefore not be able to avoid or soften consequences of strikes via employee leasing.
  • Information rights of the works council: The legislative proposal also provides for extensive information rights of the works council as to the employee leasing situation. However, the legislative proposal does not provide for a co-determination right of the works council.
  • Right to object: the If the lender does not have the statutorily required permission to hire out employees, the employment relationship between the lender and the temporary worker is void; instead, an employment relationship between the temporary worker and the hirer will be deemed. Under the proposal, however, such employment relationship would only arise if the employee does not declare within one month that he would like to remain employed by the lender.
  • Leased labour counts for thresholds: For the purposes of works council rights, leased employees will count as employees of the operations in which they actually work.

If approved, the amended law shall come into force on 1 January 2017.