Social affairs commission (SOC)

who's who

Brief description and main aims: 

In December 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal for a revision of the existing Regulations on Social Security coordination (883/2004 and 987/2009).

Achieving a modernised system of social security coordination that responds to the social and economic reality in the Member States is one of the central drivers for this initiative.

This initiative is complementary to the revision of the “Posting” Directive which led to the adoption of the new “Posting” Directive (Directive 2018/957 of 28 June 2018).

As the revision of the Social Security Regulations is not making much progress, the European Commission and the European Parliament both launched alternative initiatives.

The European Commission has launched a pilot-project on a social security pass (ESSPASS), involving around 10 Member States and which should last until 2023.

The European Parliament has adopted a Resolution on the introduction of a European social security pass.


Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

Mobility within the Internal Market is an issue of crucial importance for construction companies.

The proposal of the Commission focuses on different areas of coordination where improvements are required (economically inactive citizens' access to social benefits, long-term care benefits, unemployment benefits and family benefits), but FIEC mainly addressed those provisions that have a link with the issue of posting such as the need: to strengthen the cooperation and the exchange of information between national administrations; to reinforce the reliability of the A1 forms; to strengthen the provisions regarding the pursuit of activities in two or more Member States; to align some of the proposed changes with those concerning “Posting”, because companies, workers, labour inspectorates and public authorities need a clear and coherent legal framework, in order to be able to comply with it and to enforce it.

Actions and key dates

Initial proposal of the European Commission

FIEC Position Paper
Autumn 2019 to Autumn 2020

Trilogue negotiations => blocking issues (i.e. derogation clause to prior notification)

FIEC Press ReleaseCoordination of Social Security systems: FIEC says no to exemptions to prior notification for the construction industry
FIEC-EFBWW joint statement « EU construction social partners call for digital enforcement » in reaction to the European Parliament’s draft Resolution on the introduction of a European social security number with a personal labour card

FIEC-EFBWW joint conference on the above-mentioned European Parliament resolution and the digital enforcement of EU rules


European Parliament adopts resolution on the introduction of a European social security pass for improving the digital enforcement of social security rights and fair mobility (2021/2620(RSP))

December 2021

Political agreement reached in trilogue… but later rejected by the Council…

Autumn 2022
Trilogue negotiations are still stalling


Brief description and main aims: 

Regulation (EU) 2019/1149 of 20 June 2019 establishes the European Labour Authority (ELA): 

The main aims of the ELA are the following: improving the access to information by individuals and employers about their rights and obligations in the areas of labour mobility and social security coordination; strengthening operational cooperation between authorities in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating joint inspections; providing mediation and facilitating solutions in cases of disputes between national authorities.

The ELA is led by a Management Board and FIEC is member of the Stakeholders’ Group, which has an advisory role. In addition, several working groups have been set up: on (improving) information from public authorities to companies and workers, on joint inspections and on mediation.

Also, in 2021, important stand-alone bodies which were dealing with mobility-related issues (i.e., the Committee of Experts on Posting of the European Commission and the EU Platform against Undeclared Work) in which FIEC was sitting, have been incorporated into the ELA.


Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

Mobility within the Internal Market is an issue of crucial importance for construction companies. It is also a source of fraudulent practices amongst others because of the difficulties in the controls and the lack of coordination between public authorities, which affects genuine companies and the possibility for them to act on a level playing field.

Genuine companies also suffer from the lack of or the difficult access to information in this field.

It is therefore of crucial importance that FIEC has secured its presence in this new Authority (i.e. in the Stakeholders’ Group).

Actions and key dates

Official launch of ELA

Spring 2021

Committee of Experts on Posting and EU Platform against Undeclared Work are incorporated into the ELA


FIEC and EFBWW send joint complaint letter on the dilution of the former EC expert group on posting into the ELA


ELA organises workshop on construction sector, with FIEC and EFBWW


FIEC participates in 6th meeting of the Stakeholders’ Group


ELA will dedicate specific activities and a campaign to the construction sector


Brief description and main aims: 

On 1st July 2020, the European Commission presented an update EU Skills Agenda, building on the 2016 Agenda – which, in the meantime, has been implemented.

This agenda sets new ambitious quantitative objectives for upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (training in new skills) people over the next 5 years.

The presented agenda focuses in particular on 3 principles:

First action amongst the 12 is the set-up of sectoral “Pact for Skills”, including in construction. It is aimed at bringing together stakeholders, including social partners, which share the objective of up- and reskilling the workforce to enable the green and digital transition. These stakeholders are requested to sign a Charter, which defines the key principles that are essential to fulfil this objective, within their organisations but also across their value chain.

Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

The problems of lack of skilled workforce, skills gaps and skills mismatches in the construction sector are crucial for FIEC.

This is even more the case now as the availability of skilled construction workers will be key to the success of the European Green Deal’s Renovation Wave, as well as to the overall digital transition of the construction industry.

FIEC is already involved in these topics in many ways, and namely through our social dialogue with EFBWW.

Moreover, FIEC is partner in the “Construction Blueprint for a Sectorial Skills Strategy” (Erasmus+ project) which will last until March 2023 and define the new skills needs in the fields of energy efficiency, circular economy and digitalisation.

Together with the EFBWW, and in cooperation with EBC, FIEC worked on a Pact for Skills in construction, based on our joint experience in this field. We also targeted a few quantitative and qualitative objectives to which we can commit in this framework.

In February 2022, at the occasion of the Industry Days 2022, the Pact for Skills in Construction was officially launched. 

FIEC, EFBWW and EBC are now monitoring the implementation of this initiative (i.e., collecting the commitments of stakeholders who wants to join) in view of reporting on the outcomes to the European Commission.

Actions and key dates
European Commission presents the update EU Skills Agenda
Official launch of the Pact for Skills (with several sectors involved)
FIEC (VP Schons and VP Petrucco) participates in meeting with Commissioners Breton (Internal Market and Industry) and Schmit (Employment and Social affairs) on a Pact for Skills in construction
February 2022
Official launch of the “Pact for Skills in Construction”, prepared by FIEC, EFBWW and EBC, at the occasion of the EU Industry Days 2022
Collection of commitments from interested stakeholders in construction sector
European Commission develops series of activities to boost the sectoral “Large Scale Pacts”.


Brief description and main aims: 

As the EU Strategic Framework Health & Safety at Work (2014-2020) came to its end, the European Commission prepared and published an updated Strategic Framework for the period 2021-2027. This is considered as high priority.

With the renewal of the Strategic Framework, recommendations, as well as the revision of some legislative acts, the European Commission aims to:

  • better anticipate and manage changes in the workplace, particularly in connection with the digital and green transitions;
  • improve the prevention of workplace accidents and work-related illnesses; 
  • prepare for a possible health crisis.


Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

Health and Safety at the workplace is an all-time priority for FIEC, who is also cooperating closely with the trade unions (EFBWW) on that matter. Indeed, even if the situation has improved over the past years, the construction industry remains sensitive to accidents and work-related diseases.

In its response to the Commission’s consultation, FIEC pointed out that the current legislative framework is sufficient, so that the focus should rather be put on the implementation of the existing rules, through the exchange of best practice, awareness raising campaigns, accompanying measures for companies and in particular SMEs, etc.

However, as the European Commission intends to revise several relevant pieces of legislation anyway (i.e. asbestos, silica, REACH, workplaces, etc.) it is very important that FIEC gets involved in the debate.

Actions and key dates

FIEC contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation on the renewal of the EU Strategic Framework on Occupational Safety & Health for the period 2021-2027


Publication of the new EU Strategic Framework

06/10/2021 and 10/02/2022

FIEC and EFBWW social dialogue meetings: preparation of a joint statement in reaction to the new strategy. 


FIEC and EFBWW officially adopt a joint statement on the EU Strategic Framework on Occupational Safety & Health (2021-2027)



Brief description and main aims: 

The Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) concerns machinery and certain parts of machinery. Its main intent is to ensure a common safety level in machinery placed on the market or put in service in all EU Member States and to ensure freedom of movement within the EU.

On 21st April 2021, the European Commission proposed to revise this Directive and turn it into a Regulation. The main aims of this revision are to align the new legislative act with EU harmonised legislation on product health and safety; tackle the challenges that may arise from technical progress in digitalisation; and solve divergences in interpretations.


Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

The well-functioning of the Internal Market for the free movement of products, as well as health and safety aspects on construction work sites are two major issues dealt with by FIEC.

The proposed modifications of the legislation might have important impact in terms of responsibility of contractors (versus manufacturers) in case of necessary adaptation of the machines or accidents, for instance.

In general, better cooperation from the manufacturers would be needed regarding the user’s manuals, advanced information on the machines, ownership on/ treatment of the generated data, improvement of ergonomics and health and safety of the operators, etc.

In parallel, FIEC is participating in the Machinery Expert Group of the European Commission and provides input and feedback.

Actions and key dates

FIEC contribution to the European Commission public consultation on the revision of the Directive 2006/42/EC on machinery

March 2020
FIEC contribution in drafting of Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
Publication of FIEC Position Paper
Publication of 2nd FIEC Position Paper
Publication of European Commission proposal for a new “Machinery Regulation”
FIEC contribution to the European Commission public consultation on the proposed new Regulation
FIEC amendments’ proposals to the European Parliament’s draft report (IMCO committee)
 FIEC voting recommendations to the European Parliament (IMCO committee)
European Parliament (IMCO) adopts its report on the Machinery legislation, including some of the FIEC proposals

COUNCIL adopts its General Approach on the Machinery legislation

H2 2022

Trilogue negotiations (ongoing)


Brief description and main aims:

The “Posting” Directive defines the rules that apply when a company provides services, for a limited period, in a country other than the one where it usually operates. As the provision of services is temporary, some of the rules that apply are the ones of the “host” country (minimum wage, working time, health and safety…), whilst others (for example “Social security”) remain the ones of the “home” country.

Latest revision to date, Directive (EU) 2018/957 of 28 June 2018 amended the original Directive from 1996 on the “posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services”, with the aim to address the problem of unfair practices and to promote the principle that the same work at the same place should be remunerated in the same manner. Member States must apply the new rules since 30 July 2020.

At present, the European Commission is following the implementation of both this new Posting Directive, as well as the “Enforcement Directive” (2014/67/EU) by the Member States. 

Adopted in 2014, this later Directive aims at strengthening the practical application of the Posting Directive by addressing the inspections and monitoring or the exchange of information between Member States, for instance. To date, infringements have been identified by the European Commission in most Member States, because of non-compliance of their national legislation with this Directive (in particular regarding articles 9, 12 and 20).

In parallel, the European Commission is also working on a single e-declaration form that Member States could use on a voluntary basis, in order to harmonise the declaration procedures.

It has also launched a broad study on cross-border workers in subcontracting chains, in order to assess the overall functioning of the posting legislation.


Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

Approximately half of the postings within the Internal Market are in construction activities and therefore these new rules can have a significant impact for construction companies.

FIEC is following the implementation phase and the related activities and keeps a close look at the newly introduced provisions such as, for example: the reference to “remuneration” instead of “minimum wage”; a limitation in time (max 12 months, plus 6 possible additional months) beyond which the terms and conditions of employment that are mandatorily applicable to workers will be the ones of the Member State where the work is carried out; a clarification of the rules applicable to the reimbursement by the employer of the expenditures incurred on account of the posting, such as on travel, board and lodging.

FIEC is also advocating that sectoral initiatives, like national social ID cards, should not be put at risk by the ongoing infringement procedures.

Actions and key dates

Adoption of the new “Posting” Directive 2018/957/EC

Deadline for implementation by the Member States

European Commission undertakes infringement procedures against most EU Member States (related to the “Enforcement” Directive)

European Commission prepares single e-declaration form
European Commission undertakes broad study on “cross-border workers in subcontracting chains”


Brief description and main aims: 

Good occupational safety and health, including protection of workers from exposure to carcinogens, is top priority for the European Commission. 

The European Commission considers that improved protection of workers exposed to asbestos will be important in the context of the green transition (the Renovation Wave), which is at the heart of this Commission’s agenda, and of recovery from the effects of COVID-19. Indeed, occupational exposure limit values (OEL) on asbestos play an important role in the renovation of buildings.  

The current binding OEL for asbestos is 0.1 fibres/cm³ as an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The European Commission considers that the existing OEL should be amended in order to take account of the most recent knowledge, scientific development and technical progress. This is why, in a proposal published on 28 September 2022, the European Commission suggests lowering the existing OEL by 10 times, to 0.01 fibres/cm3. In a Communication, the European Commission proposes a series of complementary measures to be taken (e.g. mandatory screening of buildings, better waste treatment, guidance, financial support and an awareness-raising campaign).

In parallel, the European Parliament had contributed to this issue, with a legislative own-initiative report by MEP Nikolaj Villumsen (Left-DK). Amongst the various recommendations, the European Parliament namely advocated for a drastic lowering of the OEL for asbestos, to 0.001 fibres/cm3.


Why FIEC is dealing with this topic:

Asbestos is a key occupational carcinogenic agent which has been used worldwide for decades in building. Although this substance is no longer in general use in the EU, there is a substantial legacy problem due to its presence in many older buildings that are likely to be renovated, adapted or demolished over the coming years.

These works present a potential risk that workers will be exposed to asbestos, and it is important that it is carried out in a controlled way by suitably trained workers and under the proper supervision of their employers.

This is currently an important topic, not only under Union action on prevention and the protection of workers but also due to the EU-wide need to improve the thermal insulation of the built environment and enable energy savings, in line with the EU Green Deals’ Renovation Wave initiative.

However, most EU Member States have already implemented strict measures in this field and FIEC is worried that a further lowering of the OEL at EU level will become unrealistic for construction companies to comply with.

Actions and key dates

FIEC contribution to the European Commission’s social partners’ consultation (1st phase) on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to asbestos at work

FIEC contribution to the European Commission’s social partners’ consultation (2nd phase)
Adoption of Villumsen report in the EMPL Committee

Joint Press Release: “FIEC and EBC call for realistic occupational exposure limit on asbestos and strong accompanying measures

FIEC contribution to the EC call for evidence on protecting workers exposure to asbestos
Revision proposal by the European Commission