Monday, April 30, 2012
Recently the European Parliament adopted new rules granting pilots and cabin crew access to social security rights in their "home base" State, as opposed to the State out of which the carrier operates. See Press Release, European Parliament, Better Social Protection for Airline Staff and Cross-Border Workers, April 18, 2012 (available here). The "home base" is defined as the State where pilots and crew "normally start and end a duty period" and "where the operator is not responsible for the accommodation of the crew member." The measure was intended to improve the functioning of the European single aviation market by ensuring that all airline employees working out of the same airport will be paying into and benefiting from the same social security system. Some low-cost carriers, Ryanair in particular, were known for subjecting foreign employees to the labor laws and social security systems of the State where the carrier's business operations, rather than the employee, was located. See Charlie Taylor, MEPs Vote on Social Security, Irish Times, April 18, 2012 (available here). Labor concerns about work rules have been a significant political impediment to the elimination of foreign ownership rules and the creation of truly global airlines. The impact of this new "home base" rule over the next few years will be worth studying to determine its attractiveness as a possible solution to labor's concerns.