The European Labour Authority (ELA) helps ensure that EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination are enforced in a fair, simple, and effective way, and makes it easier for citizens and businesses to reap the benefits of the internal market.

About 17 million European citizens currently live or work in another Member State – twice as many as a decade ago. The EU has developed a substantial body of legislation regulating different aspects of mobility, including free movement and posting of workers and social security coordination. However, enforcing EU rules across the Member States effectively requires structured cooperation and exchange between competent national authorities, as well as resources for common activities, such as organising joint inspections or training national staff to deal with cross-border cases.

To tackle these issues, former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the creation of a European Labour Authority in September 2017, in his State of the European Union address:

In a Union of equals, there can be no second class workers. Workers should earn the same pay for the same work in the same place. This is why the Commission proposed new rules on posting of workers. We should make sure that all EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way by a new European inspection and enforcement body.

The European Labour Authority was established on 31 July 2019 and its activities started in mid-October 2019, with the first Management Board meeting. ELA is expected to reach its full operational capacity by 2024.

This initiative is part of the rollout of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The Regulation 2019/1149 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 established the European Labour Authority and sets out ELA’s objectives, tasks and organizational structure.

 […] In order to protect the rights of mobile workers and to foster fair competition between companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it is crucial to improve the cross-border enforcement of Union Law in the area of labour mobility and to tackle abuse.

A European Labour Authority (the ‘Authority’) should be established in order to help strengthen fairness and trust in the internal market. […] the Authority should assist the Member States and the Commission in strengthening the access to information, should support compliance and cooperation between the Member States in the consistent, efficient and effective application and enforcement of the Union law related to labour mobility across the Union, and the coordination of social security systems within the Union, and should mediate and facilitate solutions in the case of disputes.

Read the full text of the Regulation establishing ELA.