France introduces card system to tackle posted worker fraud

building-site-construction-france-creditguillaume-galdrat-flickr [Guillaume Galdrat/Flickr]

France has begun issuing professional cards to construction workers in a scheme that will become compulsory this year. The objective is to combat illegal employment and the fraudulent posting of workers in Europe.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri on Wednesday (4 January) handed the first of these new cards to an employee of the Breton building company Moullec.

The cards are produced at the same high-security printing facility, in Flers-en-Escrébieux, that produces France’s passports, identity cards and vehicle air pollution certificates.

Strongly supported by employers in the construction and public works sectors throughout the ten-year development process, these professional cards will carry a photo, personal and employer information, and a unique bar code that can be read by inspectors using a mobile application.

A child of Macron’s economic reform

The measure was made obligatory by Emmanuel Macron’s 2015 economic reform bill and will be extended to temporary employees and posted workers from foreign companies.

In an address to representatives of the sector on Wednesday, the prime minister welcomed the cards as “progress on worker protection and the defence of our social model”.

Beginning this February, the cards will be issued to 2.5 million workers from half a million companies.

France threatens to stop applying EU law on posted workers

The European Union should swiftly modify the regulation allowing pay differentials between
seconded and local workers or France will stop applying it, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said yesterday (3 July).

Construction hardest hit by fraud

The construction sector has seen an explosion of outsourcing and a significant rise in posted worker fraud in recent years. French local authorities suspended or terminated 33 construction sites in 2016 over breaches of employment laws, Cazeneuve said.

The card will cost €10.80, an administrative fee to be paid by employers.

Parliament bids to reconcile East and West over posted workers

The European Parliament is attempting to bridge the divide between East and West on the question of posted workers. In France, non-francophones are already excluded from some construction sites by the “Molière clause”. EURACTIV France reports.

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