As the crewing business is growing in Europe, companies who do not obey local law are occurring and putting their clients in financial and legal danger.
Control by local authorities is not just checking the paperwork – clerks are showing up on site to interrogate workers, who are often not sure of who they are speaking with.
If a worker will state that they are working under a close supervision of the main contractor (your company) OR the clerks will assume that he does (wears your company’s clothes, uses your company’s tools), you might be in trouble!
Here are a few important things to know, if you don’t want to get a fine from Zoll (Germany) or Finanz Polizei (Austria).
1. Independent work – if you hire a crewing company that is actually not working independently, you might be classified as arbeitnehmerüberlassung.
In this case you are the one responsible for all the personnel on site.
It means – their contracts and safety. If it turns out you do not have a contract with them and also did not take care of their occupational health and safety training – you are in trouble.
Average fine – €5,000
Maximum fine – €50,000
How to make work independent?
a) Hire crewing companies with skilled specialists.
If there are stagehands in the crew – it is not a problem, but they should be supervised by a Crew Chief from the same crewing company.
b) Make sure the crewing company wears their own brand and uses their own tools.
Wearing your company’s t-shirts by subcontractors and using tools with your company’s logo on them might be seen as hidden freelance hiring.
A crewing company should make sure that the crew wears company t-shirts, vests, and uses company tools like hammers or power tools.
c) Give the crewing company a specific area they are responsible for.
Make sure that the specialists are working with a plot and do not need to be closely supervised by your on site manager. Your manager can consult things to do with them, but should not explain to them how to do basic things, like assembling a truss or opening the case.
It is good to also sign a contract with a crewing company, in which a specific area of work is established and agreed on.
2. Make sure that the crewing company hires their workers legally.
Some companies are actually sending not hired workers, since the controls are not very frequent. Thanks to not hiring their staff, they save a lot of money (difference between net and super-gross wage is up to 60%, so paying somebody 200 euros means a cost of 320 euros) and are able to give you a “better” price.
a) contracts between the staff and a crewing company should be signed
b) minimum wages valid in your country should be respected.
c) A1’s should be issued (in case of Poland, many times it takes time to issue A1 – US-4 formular combined with confirmation it’s submission is valid too).
Here is an article on the official ZUS website (Social Insurances Agency of Poland) that will tell you how much time they have for issuing A1 – from 1 day up to 2 months.
d) reporting in Zoll (Germany, fairgrounds only) or BMF (Austria, any job) should be made at least 1 day before the work starts.
e) It is a good practice for a crewing company to require their staff to have EKUZ cards.EKUZ is a European Card of Health Insurance, thanks to which any kind of hospital services will be free of charge. If a worker does not have one, they will have to pay for the services and ask for a refund back in the country of their origin (in our case – Poland).
EKUZ is a nice thing to have, though it is not obligatory.
A1 tells us that the social insurance is paid, EKUZ tells us that the health insurance is possible to use free of charge anytime.
f) make sure that the staff members have a citizenship of a European Union country or a consent to work in Germany or Austria.
Having for example a Ukrainian citizen without such consent can be treated by the authorities as human trafficking (no joke!).
If the company you are cooperating with has nothing to hide, it should not be a problem for them to show you all the documents from points a, b, c, d and f.
If the crewing company does not want to show you any documents, it should be a red flag for your cooperation with them.
TEST US – ask for any documents of our crew before the job starts and see how legitimate we are!