Bridging the gap between legislation and practice in the posting of workers



POW-BRIDGE studied the gap between procedures (legal basis) and practices (experiences) in posting rule enactment, identified challenges, developed and shared effective ways of addressing these challenges for posting companies and implementation agencies. It particularly investigated how the Directive interplays with other EU and national legislation in terms of social security, health insurance, temporary agency work, and company law. The geographical scope of the action included: Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and North Macedonia.


The posting of workers is a dynamic form of labour mobility, which has received considerable political and policy attention principally in terms of preventing social dumping reflected in the revised Directive passed in 2018. The main aim of the project was to strengthen the efforts for the implementation and enforcement of the Directive in an inclusive, participatory and transparent form.
The strategic objectives of the action were:

  • To promote and enhance effective and transparent application of EU rules on posting;
  • To promote a more active participation of employers in the process of evidence-based policy-making;
  • To establish, consolidate and expand multi-stakeholder cross-border collaboration among EU Member States and candidate countries.

The specific objectives of the project were based on the strategic objectives and meet the criteria of the call. They were:

  1. To improve transnational multi-stakeholder cooperation between public authorities, social partners and the research community by setting up mutual learning labs for the exchange of knowledge and information among the participating sending and receiving countries.
  2. To increase access to information in terms of rule enactment of the Posting of Workers Directive and its Enforcement Directive in the eight countries of the action.
  3. To strengthen the evidence base through the collection and evaluation of original data in order to deepen the understanding on a) how the Directive interplays with other EU and national legislation in terms of social security, health insurance, temporary agency work, and company law; b) how the interplay of different complex national systems might lead to potential challenges and eventually inequalities and exploitation; and c) how to address these challenges through policy reform.


The research component of the project investigated the gap between procedures (legal basis) and practices (experiences) in posting rule enactment as well as how the implementation of the Directive interacts with other EU and national regulations related to posting and how this influences employers’ practices and their deliberations to engage in posting. The study focused, in particular, on national rules and regulations on social security, health insurance, temporary agency work and company law; aspects that have been less studied in this context. Primary data were collected in each country for the assessment of the impact of these different regulations on actual practices and to what extent these differed across the countries. The method used for the primary data collection was based on vignettes which wwere specifically designed to meet the purposes of the assessment, i.e. elicit insights from both sides of the institutional relationship: posting employers and street-level bureaucrats/state agencies' representatives on posting practices. The kick-off, mutual learning labs, strategic board meetings, and the final international conference served as activities that aimed to both enhance cooperation and assist in sharing information among participating stakeholders and to a wider audience.


  • One kick-off event
  • Two Mutual Learning Labs 
  • Two Strategic Board Meetings
  • Three Steering Group Meetings
  • Eight country reports
  • Eight policy briefs
  • One comparative working paper
  • Eight video podcasts
  • One final international conference


Our findings indicate that while posting regulation is designed at the EU level, the understandings of what the rules mean and how they are embedded in national legal frameworks vary. This has resulted in significant differences in the transposed national regulatory frameworks for posting and the other related rules we analysed. Some of these differences have led to ambiguities and enactment challenges in terms of interpretation of rules, their implementation and enforcement, as well as the validation of national enforcement and protection mechanisms and strategies. The differences in the legal frameworks across countries are faced by enforcing public authorities and employers. Our research indicates that while there are different categories of employers based on whether they abide by the posting rules or break them, the latter category is not a clear-cut category of law offenders but is comprised of abusive companies as well as those entangled in the complex transnational regulatory framework and the regulatory differences across countries. The complexity of the regulatory framework, enforcement structures and protection mechanisms are also transferred to workers, which combined with personal factors results in underreporting, lack of detection, and hence insufficient preventative or reparatory interventions on the side of the authorities and the social partners. Measures could be taken to simplify and converge rules and procedures on posting and other related areas, increase the capacities of enforcement agencies and social partners in monitoring and providing support to posting companies and posted workers, reduce social dumping practices, as well as strengthen collaboration across institutions and borders.


Bridging Function of the European Centre

The video podcasts in the form of practical guides for posting companies in the eight project countries (in local language with English subtitles) can be accessed for free on VIMEO and YouTube:

Practical guide for posting employers in Austria / Praktischer Leitfaden für entsendende Unternehmen aus Österreich

Vimeo    YouTube

Practical guide for posting employers in Hungary / Információ magyar munkaadóknak az EU más országaiba történő kiküldetésről

Vimeo     YouTube

 Practical guide for posting employers in Italy / Guida pratica sul distacco per i datori di lavoro in Italia

Vimeo     YouTube

Practical guide for posting employers in North Macedonia / Прaктицен водиц за упатување работодавците во Република Северна

Vimeo     YouTube

Practical guide for posting employers in Poland / Praktyczny przewodnik dla pracodawców w Polsce delegujących pracowników

Vimeo     YouTube

Practical guide for posting employers in Serbia / Praktični vodič za poslodavce iz Republike Srbije koji upućuju radnike narad u inostranstvo

Vimeo     YouTube

Practical guide for posting employers in Slovakia / Praktický návod pre zamestnávateľov vysielajúcich zamestnancov zo Slovenska do zahraničia

Vimeo     YouTube

Practical guide for posting employers in Slovenia / Napotovanje delavcev iz Slovenije: Praktični vodnik za delodajalce

Vimeo     YouTube

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research supports the Sustainable Development Goals

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UN SDG Decent Work and Economic Growth
UN SDG Reduced Inequalities


EaSI Programme, DG Employment, European Commission


01/2020 – 12/2021