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Mediation

Mediation at ELA

Mediation is a tailor-made mechanism to resolve disputes on EU labour mobility between Members States in an effective manner.  Member States will be able to refer disputed individual cases to the Authority for mediation after failing to solve them by means of direct contact and dialogue. Mediation will only concern disputes between Member States. 

In 2021, the Rules of procedure for mediation, and 2 cooperation agreements with SOLVIT and the Administrative Commission were adopted.

The Rules of Procedures for mediation clarify the rules how the ELA mediation procedure will function, including for the working arrangements.

The Cooperation Agreement between ELA and SOLVIT is meant to allow better coordination between ELA and SOLVIT when it comes to case referral and the exchange of information. SOLVIT is a service provided by the European Commission for national administrations.

The Cooperation Agreement between the Administrative Commission and ELA provides rules to ensure good cooperation between the two entities, to coordinate the activities in mutual agreement and to avoid any duplication in cases of mediation which concern both issues of social security and labour law.

The scope of mediation includes all areas under ELA’s responsibility, such as social security, posting of workers, free movement of persons, and also social aspects in road transport. In case a dispute relates fully or partly to matters of social security, the Administrative Commission will be informed and the procedures in the cooperation agreement apply.

The objective of the procedure is to reconcile the divergent points of view between the Member States that are party to the dispute and to adopt a non-binding opinion. 

The mediation procedure consists of 2 stages. 

  • The first stage of mediation will be conducted between the Member States and a mediator, who will try to adopt a non-binding opinion
  • If a non-binding opinion is not adopted at the first stage, ELA may launch a second stage of mediation before its Mediation Board.

Each Member State should undertake measures to implement the solution within 3 months and report to ELA on the measures taken to follow up the opinion.

Examples of potential disputes include, for instance, disputes related to minimum wage and working time in cross-border situations, living conditions that the employer provides and allowances or reimbursement of employees’ travel expenses for mobile workers, obstacles to free movement, obstacles in access to employment and in the area of social legislation in road transport – disputes concerning the misapplication of rules on driving times, breaks and rest periods.

The ELA mediation procedure is expected to provide an efficient and effective solution to Member States’ disputes on EU labour mobility. ELA will support the procedure by providing for instance translation and interpretation services where necessary, legal support and all the necessary logistical support.

Key documents

The Cooperation Agreement between the Administrative Commission (AC) and ELA provides rules to ensure good cooperation between the two entities, to coordinate the activities in mutual agreement and to avoid any duplication in cases of mediation which concern both issues of social security and labour law.

It consists of a part on the horizontal cooperation between the two bodies and a part with procedural rules for the exchange of information, tools used for these purposes and steps to be followed when a case submitted for mediation at ELA concerns social security issues.

In applying this Cooperation Agreement, the ELA and the AC commit themselves to the principles of sincere cooperation and mutual trust and ensuring effective communication between them. Additionally, the cooperation agreement is based on the principles established by Regulation 2019/1149 and the Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2010.

The Agreement was adopted by the Management Board on 17 December 2021, signed by both parties in December 2021 and will enter into force on 1 June 2022.

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The Cooperation Agreement between ELA and SOLVIT is meant to allow the SOLVIT network to be enabled to refer to the Authority for its consideration cases in which the problem cannot be solved due to differences between national administrations. It allows for better coordination between ELA and SOLVIT when it comes to case referral and the exchange of information.

SOLVIT is a service provided by the European Commission for national administrations. SOLVIT network consists of specially designated structures in the national administration in each EU country and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. SOLVIT is free of charge and it is mainly an online service - although there is a SOLVIT centre in each country, the best way to contact them is via this website. SOLVIT aims to find solutions within 10 weeks – starting on the day your case is taken on by the SOLVIT centre in the country where the problem occurred. When the SOLVIT centres of both Members States involved in a dispute on EU labour mobility issues, can not find adequate solution to the dispute, they may, in mutual agreement, refer the unsolved case to ELA. In this way, ELA mediation procedure may be considered as an extension to the SOLVIT procedure, where if the case remains unsolved in SOLVIT, ELA will continue trying to solve it.

The Agreement was adopted by the Management Board on 10 November 2021, signed by both parties in December 2021/January 2022 and entered into force on 20 January 2022.

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The Management Board of the European Labour Authority on its 8th meeting on November 10, 2021, approved the Decision by which the Rules of Procedure for mediation of the European Labour Authority were adopted.

The Rules of procedures in all official languages:

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Guidelines and workflows

Based on the key documents for mediation, the Authority developed general guidelines and workflows for the mediation procedure, as well as guidance for Member States, for Mediators and the Mediation Board, and for the interaction between ELA and the Administrative Commission for the coordination of social security systems. These guidelines aim to serve as a guide to the Member States and the relevant stakeholders, covering all practical issues regarding the mediation procedure. These guidelines describe the mediation procedure in a structured and accessible way and are primarily developed for the use by the key actors who are directly involved in the mediation process.

These can be found here: