5 October 2012, Brussels The Late Payment Directive 2011/7/EU aims to highlight the issue of late payments amongst public authorities, businesses, members of the judiciary and other interested parties. New measures are optional for enterprises and was designed to combat late payment of commercial transactions and to restore normal lending to the economy. The new rules are simple:
- Public authorities must pay for the goods and services that they procure within 30 days or, in very exceptional circumstances, within 60 days.
- Contractual freedom in businesses commercial transactions: Enterprises should pay their invoices within 60 days, unless they expressly agree otherwise and if it is not grossly unfair to the creditor.
- Enterprises are automatically entitled to claim interest for late payments and can able obtain a minimum fixed amount of €40 as a compensation for payment recovery costs. They can also claim compensation for all remaining reasonable recovery costs.
- The statutory interest rate for late payment is increased to at least 8 percentage points above the European Central Bank’s reference rate. Public authorities are not allowed to fix an interest rate for late payment below this threshold.
- Enterprises can challenge grossly unfair terms and practices more easily before national courts.
- More transparency and awareness raising: Member States must publish the interest rates for late payment so that all parties involved are informed.
- Member States are encouraged to establish prompt payment codes of practice.
- Member States may continue to maintain or to bring into force laws and regulations which are more favourable to the creditor than the provisions of the Directive.