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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article30 September 2021European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

Seasonal worker: A guide to your rights

Seasonal work is a great way to see the world, but the exciting opportunities can bring more risks than other forms of employment. Read on to learn about the protection available and what to look out for.

Seasonal worker: A guide to your rights

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

In partnership with EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.


Related links:

European Job Days

European Commission guidelines

EURES portal

Information for seasonal workers and employers

EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union

European Labour Authority’s campaign on Facebook


Read more:

European Job Days

Find EURES Advisers

Living and working conditions in EURES countries

EURES Jobs Database

EURES services for employers

EURES Events Calendar

Upcoming Online Events

EURES on Facebook

EURES on Twitter

EURES on LinkedIn

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Articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. Their content does not necessarily reflect the view of the European Labour Authority (ELA) or the European Commission. Furthermore, EURES and ELA do not endorse third party websites mentioned above.