Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund

What is posting?


A posting is a temporary assignment of an employee by his or her employer to a different EU Member State. Posted workers remain employed by their original employers and covered by social security insurance in their home countries during posting periods. According to statistics published by the European Parliament, the largest share of posted workers (42 per cent) work in the construction industry; 22 per cent work in the processing industry, 14 per cent in the education, health and social services sector and 10 percent in the business services sector.

The legal framework is the principle of free movement of services, according to which European business enterprises are permitted to offer their services in other EU Member States and post workers for that purpose. In order to prevent discrimination, the EU specified in the Posting of Workers Directive of 1996 that posted workers are protected by the basic provisions of the labour laws of the country in which they work. These include:

  • Minimum wage rates
  • Maximum working hours and minimum rest periods
  • Minimum paid annual leave
  • Requirements pertaining to the lending of workers by temporary employment agencies
  • Workplace safety, health protection and hygiene
  • Equal treatment of men and women

According to the German law on the posting of workers, which translates the EU Directive into national law, workers must be paid the minimum wages set for specific industries. In actual practice, posted workers are often paid less than regular employees. According to an estimate published by the European Commission, however, their wages may actually be as much as 50 per cent lower. One reason for this is that posted workers are generally paid on the basis of currently applicable minimum wage requirements. They frequently do not receive supplemental wage components or industry wage rates in force in Germany.

The revised Posting of Workers Directive passed in May 2018 is intended to insure that the following principle is applied everywhere: “Equal pay for equal work at the same place.” However, this has not been translated into national law yet. Moreover, international road transport is not likely to be included in the new legislation.

In addition to unequal pay, posted workers are often disadvantaged by illegal practices. Employers fail to register their workers for social security insurance, and the requisite A1 certificates are often falsified. Some of the firms in question are letterbox companies, which were specifically established for the business of posting and form confusingly complex subcontractor chains.


DGB Bildungswerk Bund
Michaela Dälken
Hans-Böckler-Straße 39, 40476 Düsseldorf
Telephone +49 211 4301-198


DGB-Projekt Faire Mobilität
Dominique John
Kapweg 4, 13405 Berlin
Telephone +49 30 21240540



This publication has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission.