European Labour Authority

Definition

The European Labour Authority (ELA) is an EU agency established to assist Member States and the European Commission in ensuring that EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination are fairly and effectively enforced and by making it easier for citizens and businesses to benefit from the internal market.

The authority was established on 31 July 2019 and since September 2021 has had a permanent headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Background and status

In September 2017, the then President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his State of the Union address to the European Parliament, announced the creation of ELA to ensure that all EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way by a new European inspection and enforcement body’.

On 13 March 2018, the European Commission published the Social Fairness Package, consisting of proposals for a European labour authority regulation and for a Council recommendation to improve access to social protection. The proposal for a regulation was aimed at setting up a decentralised EU agency to help individuals, businesses and national administrations make the most of the opportunities offered by free movement and to ensure a level playing field for workers’ mobility. This proposal was also part of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Overview

Tasks and activities

On 14 February 2019, the European Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on legislation establishing a European labour authority. The main tasks of the ELA are the following.

  • It facilitates access to information on rights and obligations regarding labour mobility across the EU and to relevant services.
  • It coordinates European Employment Services (EURES) through activities of the European Coordination Office and supports Member States in promoting cross-border job matching.
  • It facilitates cooperation and the exchange of information between Member States, aiming for the consistent and effective application of EU labour mobility rules.
  • It coordinates and supports concerted and joint inspections. ELA is mandated to co-ordinate and support, at the request of Member States, inspections to facilitate the enforcement of the rules in cross-border cases, to protect the rights of mobile workers and to combat fraud and abuses in the labour mobility field.
  • It provides assistance to national administrations with cross-border inspections, for example organising coordination meetings, providing logistic and technical support, and providing translation and interpreting services. The social partners can also report cases to ELA.
  • It carries out analyses and risk assessments on issues of cross-border labour mobility.
  • It supports Member States with capacity building in the field of labour mobility.
  • It supports Member States in tackling undeclared work.
  • It mediates disputes between Member States. ELA is able to act as a mediator between the authorities of different Member States in the event of a dispute concerning the application of labour mobility rules and to issue a non-binding opinion. Member States only take part in ELA’s mediation activities on a voluntary basis.

ELA has also taken over the management of EURES’ European Coordination Office, as well as incorporating the relevant tasks and objectives of the Technical Committee on the Free Movement of Workers, the Committee of Experts on Posting of Workers and the European Platform tackling undeclared work.

Each year, ELA prepares and presents a detailed work programme with its activities, actions and outputs for the upcoming year. The annual work programme is part of the authority’s Single Programming Document, which covers the overall strategic programming and resource programming for the following three years. An overview of the ELA’s activities and achievements in a given year can be found in its consolidated annual activity report.

Management and organisation

The administrative and management structure of ELA consists of three entities.

  1. The Management Board provides strategic guidance and oversees ELA’s activities. It is composed of one representative per Member State, two representatives of the European Commission, four representatives of cross-industry EU-level social partners and an independent expert appointed by the European Parliament.
  2. The Stakeholder Group has an advisory role and is composed of representatives of the EU-level social partners and representatives of the European Commission.
  3. The Executive Director is supported in their work by heads of units, and ensures the day-to-day organisation and administrative management of ELA.

ELA has a total of 132 staff posts in 2022, consisting of 57 temporary agents, 15 contract agents, 33 seconded national experts and 27 national liaison officers seconded by the Member States. It is expected that ELA will employ a total of 144 staff members by 2024.

ELA has four dedicated working groups in which representatives of Member States, the European Commission and social partners share their expertise on specific subjects: information, inspections, mediation and the European Platform tackling undeclared work.

Related dictionary terms

Posted workersfree movement of workersmobility of workersbetter regulationEuropean Pillar of Social Rights

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