Recent changes to legislation across the EU have created new restrictions on contracts with non-permanent employees.
These changes are designed to encourage employers to give permanent positions to employees in a hope to reduce long-term employment and help with economic difficulties, but how do these affect our contractor workforce?
Contractors are usually required to deliver specialist expertise in order to do a specific job and are therefore essential to the growth and development of small businesses and entire industries alike.
These changes in legislation are in an effort to provide more protection to vulnerable workers in unskilled roles as opposed to the highly educated worker that is more likely to voluntarily take on a high paid contracting role.  These vulnerable workers include young workers and workers in manufacturing on comparatively lower pay packages where temporary contracts are very common in countries like Spain and France.  France has already combated this by announcing that small businesses are only allowed to renew temporary employment contracts just twice in a period of eighteen months.
Changes have also come about to labour laws in Italy, Portugal and Poland which effect workers on long term temporary or consecutive contracts ensuring that they move into permanent contracts.  These are unlikely to have a massive impact on contractors unless the job is for a lengthy period of time in which case there can be more permanent contracts or in some cases special permission to enable temporary contracts despite the new regulations.
Although these changes are designed to help vulnerable workers into obtaining more permanent jobs it is clear that such restrictions are bound to effect temporary workers such as international contractors who are focused on obtaining temporary contracts and require a degree of flexibility.  However, the market is still buoyant especially in Europe for specialist contract staff to provide the skills and growth that domestic workers simply cannot, and this is generally recognised by every country and therefore flexibility is usually still an option.  Vacancies for these positions are still on the increase.  As the purpose of the new legislation is to help those with little job protection, temporary contracts for those seeking opportunities in highly skilled areas will remain relatively unchanged.
If you do have any concerns over how any changes to the EU legislation may affect your current contract or contracts that you may acquire in the near future please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to advise.