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The procedures for EU Member States labour mobility dispute mediation and cooperation agreement with SOLVIT now adopted

missing puzzle piece

The procedure for EU Member States labour mobility dispute mediation and the cooperation agreement with SOLVIT were adopted at the latest Management Board meeting of the European Labour Authority (ELA). ELA will be in a position to launch the mediation procedure in 2022. The Rules of Procedures for mediation clarify how ELA could mediate disputes between Member States. The Cooperation Agreement between ELA and SOLVIT, on the other hand, 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.

With the adoption of this package, ELA will be able to provide national authorities a tailor made mechanism to resolve their disputes on EU labour mobility in a costless and timely manner. This role, in line with ELA’s mandate, allows ELA to help the reconcilement of divergent points of view between the parties to the dispute.

ELA will be able to mediate, for instance, disputes between two Member States related to minimum wage and working time in cross-border situations. The mediation could also concern living conditions that the employer provides and allowances or reimbursement of employees’ travel expenses for mobile workers. ELA could also mediate disputes related to posting of workers and social security.

If two Member States fail to reach a common solution through direct contact and dialogue, the case may be referred to ELA for mediation through a request made by one or both Member States. The first stage of mediation will be conducted between the Member States and a mediator, who will try to adopt a non-binding opinion within 45 working days from their first meeting.  This may be extended with additional 15 working days in case of complex disputes.

If a non-binding opinion is not adopted at the first stage, ELA may launch a second stage of mediation before its Mediation Board and in agreement with the Member States party to the dispute. The Mediation Board will again try to adopt a non-binding opinion. Mediation may also involve experts from Member States, the European Commission or ELA in an advisory capacity.

The mediation procedure may also be launched for unsolved SOLVIT cases. The SOLVIT centres of both Members States, in mutual agreement, may 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.

In all cases, the 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.

The overall aim of the mediation procedure is the adoption of a non-binding opinion, in line with the common rights and obligations that are binding on all EU countries, with recommendations and solutions to solve the dispute. Each Member State should undertake measures to implement the solution within three months and report to ELA on the measures taken to follow up the opinion.