A new law requiring construction contractors to issue employment identification cards for their employees was passed in parliament. The law is designed to address concerns that employees are sometimes mistreated, or paid less than the law required. Employee identification is intended to ensure that all employees are receiving the pay and benefits that have been outlined in their collective bargaining agreements. According to the law, employers can expect surprise visits from supervisory officials, and could be fined if employees are found who do not have identification.
Progressive Party chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson harshly criticized the idea, telling RÚV that it was another example of the government intruding into the private lives of everyday people, likening the law to the former East Germany.
In response to this statement, chairman of the Electrical Worker’s Association, Guðmundur Gunnarsson, said that the Progressive Party was out of touch with the times and daily life in the construction industry. He told RÚV the worker’s ID idea is built upon a Belgian and Dutch idea that was supposed to prevent the hiring of “rental workers” – employees hired from outside the company who are notoriously underpaid and overworked. Rental workers are far from an unknown phenomenon in Iceland, Guðmundur pointed out, citing the Kárahnjúkar dam project.
If employees are found without work IDs when an inspector comes by, employers could be fined by the Directorate of Labor up to 100,000 ISK per day, the proceeds of which go directly to the national treasury.