Stronger late payment law for Ireland & France &co
THE Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament - wake up! - agreed unanimously on 5 October to approve a (slight) tightening of the rules on late payment of debts across the EU.
There will be little effect in the UK. MEPs "fought hard"to ensire that it would no longer be possible to "agree" to extend payment beyond 60 days. The version accepted by the member state governments and passed on 20 October says that this may happen when "expressly agreed in the contract and provided it is not grossly unfair to the creditor".
The default due date, barring agreement to the contrary, will remain 30 days after your client becomes aware of the amount they owe you.
It will, once the regulations are implemented - due by 2012 - not be possible for a "public authority" to extend the payment period beyond 30 days, unless it is carrying out "activities of an industrial or commercial nature" or is a healthcare provider.
There is also mention of a right to claim debt recovery costs beyond the statutory €40 minimum.
Freelances governed by Irish and French law will gain more, when those governments get around to implementing the change, with a 1 per cent increase in the penalty interest payable. Compensation, claimable on top of interest, will be a minimum of €40 throughout the EU - in the UK it's currently £40 (for debts up to £1000) which is usually a shade more. And public bodies will everywhere be subject to the same rules as private companies.