The directive will fully harmonise the period within which payment is due at 30 days. Companies dealing with other companies will be able to set that period at 60 days in their contracts, but must pay bills within 30 days if no contractual period is set.
Contracts will not be able to extend that period beyond 60 days “unless otherwise expressly agreed in the contract and provided it is not grossly unfair to the creditor”, according to the new directive.
Organisations that break those rules will have to pay interest at 8 per cent above the European Central Bank’s reference rate. They will also have to pay fixed fees to companies to cover costs. This will be set at a minimum of €40 but can cover all reasonable costs.