Your right to equal treatment
The protection of seasonal workers is a priority of the EU. When working in another Member State, as an EU citizen you have the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination. You can expect to receive the same assistance and working conditions as local workers when working in other Member States, and should be prepared to ask questions if this isn’t the case.
When you are employed in another Member State, you must be treated the same as nationals in terms of pay, working hours, dismissal, and health and safety. If your employer does not offer you a contract, be sure to insist on one to make your position as secure as possible. This will protect your rights as your employer will need to honour the terms of your employment.
Accessing social security
When working abroad you can only be subject to one social security system at a time. Once you are associated with one, you’ll be able to access healthcare, family benefits and unemployment benefits just as easily as national citizens.
Each Member State has its own social security laws. However, rules are in place to ensure that people moving to another Member State do not lose their social security cover. You will need to pay for the country’s social security where you are working, regardless of where you live, although this does not apply to you if your employer has asked you to work abroad for less than two years.
Becoming involuntarily unemployed
The European Commission guidelines state that if you are involuntarily let go when working abroad as a seasonal worker or otherwise, you must still be treated the same as local residents. This means you can retain worker status in the Member State for six months as long as you register with its employment services.
Finding extra help and information
The EURES portal offers information and guidance on working abroad, which is further supported by local EURES Advisers.
You can also find useful information on what you should be looking for when considering seasonal work and what you should expect on the European Labour Authority (ELA) website. Here you’ll be able to click on a specific Member State and follow links to various relevant resources. The EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union also sets out your rights as a worker in Europe.
To stay up-to-date with the rights of seasonal workers, follow ELA’s seasonal workers campaign on Facebook and on Twitter, using the hashtag #Rights4AllSeasons
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- Publication date
- 30 September 2021
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Business / EntrepreneurshipEU toolbox for mobilityEURES trainingRecruiting trendsYouth
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