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The EU wants to improve working conditions in platform work, what does this mean?

On 9 December 2021, the European Commission proposed a set of measures to improve working conditions in platform work and to ensure that jobs performed through digital platform have the equal level of social protection of traditional employees.

As part of the package presented, the Commission has published a proposal for a Directive which includes provisions to correctly determine the employment status of people working through digital labour platforms and introduces new rights for both workers and self-employed people regarding algorithmic management.

Once defined as a ‘digital labour platform’ under the condition of providing a commercial service, (i) at least in part, at a distance through electronic means (eg. website or a mobile application), (ii) at the request of a recipient of the service and (iii) involving the organisation of work performed by individuals, a company may fall under the scope of the Directive.

This entails a legal presumption of employment where the platform is considered as an ‘employer’ and the platform worker as an ‘employee’, with all associated labour law and social protection applied, when at least two of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The platform effectively determines, or sets upper limits to, workers’ remuneration;

  • Workers are required to respect specific, binding rules with regard to appearance, conduct towards the recipient of the service or performance of the work;

  • The platform supervises the performance of work or assesses the quality of its results, including by electronic means;

  • The platform effectively restricts, including through sanctions, the freedom to organise one’s work, in particular working time and the ability to accept or to refuse tasks or use subcontractors or substitutes,

  • The worker’s capacity to build a client base or perform work for a third party is effectively restricted.

To support the implementation of this initiative, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the proposal (deadline: 7 February 2022), as well as a public consultation on the draft guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements of solo self-employed people (deadline: 24 February 2022).

In parallel, discussions on the Commission’s proposal will start at the European Parliament and at the Council.

To read more, please click here.


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