MEPs approved on Wednesday a draft law to improve the working conditions of posted workers, people employed in one EU Member State but sent to temporarily work in another country.
The new law aims to avoid social dumping, where European companies use low-cost workers by circumventing labour law of the host country.
"The comprehensive package of measures will considerably improve the current situation and provide for a number of appropriate tools to improve the situation of posted workers' rights and prevent social dumping." said Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor.
The Parliament strengthened the draft by clarifying the rules to distinguish genuine posting. It also gives EU member states some flexibility to carry out checks.
Building industry contractors and subcontractors would be jointly liable for abuses of labour law, such as failure to pay posted workers or to respect their rights.
"I would say that there are lot of improvement in the new Directive. A lots for factors such as it is easier to check on posting. It would be more difficult to set up letter Box companies or employing people in the black. If there has been posting and it turns out to be illegal, there must be some of protection which is offered to the workers." said Conservative Polish MEP Danuta Jazlowiecka.
The legislation was adopted in Strasbourg with 474 votes in favour and 158 against.
But even though the vote was hailed as a victory, some parties think the revised Posted Workers Directive does not go far enough in “putting the worker before the market”.
"On the liability side I don't think the legal affairs committee went far enough to properly protect employees so that is why I and Mrs Turunen have decided to remove their name from the report. On the compromise that has been legitimated, this is a typical European compromise. There is small progress there are small improvements for workers and that's why we should be voting in favour however we have not achieved the maximum. This is only the beginning, we need to go further, we also need to ne going down to the substance of the Posted Worker Directive." said Austrian social-democrat MEP Evelyn Regner.
The number of posted workers has soared since the EU enlargement to Eastern countries in 2004. In France only, posted workers currently account for an estimated 210,000, according to the French employment ministry.