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Does the Posted Workers Directive apply to ‘highly mobile workers’?

European Union
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The European Court of Justice has ruled that workers on international trains providing on-board services are not posted workers.

On 19 December 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Posted Workers Directive does not apply to on-board cleaning or catering services for passengers on internationals trains if the workers carry out most of the work in one state where they begin and end their shift.

A Hungarian company provided on-board services (such as provision of food and drink) on international trains linking Austria or Germany to Budapest (Hungary), the station of departure and terminus, using workers living in Hungary.

Following an inspection in Austria, the managing director of the Hungarian company was found guilty of non-compliance with the Austrian obligations when posting workers to Austria.

The Court of Justice ruled, however, that a worker cannot be considered as being ‘posted’ to the territory of a member state if his or her work does not have a sufficient connection with the territory of that member state.

As a result, the Hungarian workers who carry out a significant part of their work in Hungary and only ‘cross’ Austria by train do not have a sufficient connection with Austria to be considered posted workers under the Posted Workers Directive.

ECJ, Michael Dobersberger v Magistrat der Stadt Wien, case C-16/18


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