Synthesis Report: Attracting and protecting the rights of seasonal workers in the EU and United Kingdom

With the adoption of the Seasonal Workers Directive, the implementation of admission policies for this category of workers and the protection of their rights has received increasing attention. By 2019, all Member States bound by the directive had incorporated it into their national laws. The number of workers admitted under the directive ranged from around 300 in Latvia to more than 46 000 in Poland in 2019. The analysis shows that in several Member States, in line with possibilities granted by the directive, the access of seasonal workers to equal treatment is restricted, in particular, regarding unemployment benefits and family benefits. The definition of adequate housing for seasonal workers also varies across Member States. Whilst the monitoring of working conditions takes place across the Member States, still, some cases of abuse might go undetected, notably due to limited awareness of seasonal workers about their rights.

The study also briefly outlines the immediate consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for seasonal workers, and measures taken to by Member States to mitigate its effects. The specific measures include extension of authorisations for seasonal workers already present in the country, lifting of travel restrictions, but also a mobilisation of domestic labour to fill the gaps. In some Member States seasonal workers have gained more visibility and recognition from the public during the pandemic.