EU Proposal on Gig Workers

On December 8th, The EU Commission is set to release a proposal to address the gig and platform economy as it becomes a fixture in the labour market. The draft proposal would apply to any company that controls digital workers’ performance by determining pay, handling customer communication, or offering future work based on previous work.

Platform work is steadily rising in the EU, with 11.9% of internet users between the ages of 16 and 74 in 14 EU countries having earned income at least once by providing a service via an online platform.

There has been an increasing focus on the misclassification of workers across Europe in recent years, with courts in countries such as the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, and the Netherlands rulings on workers’ employment status for delivery and ride-hailing apps.

“Digitalisation is changing the world of work, improving productivity and enhancing flexibility. This has created new opportunities for the labour market, but also put strain on traditional employment and work organisation models.” – EU Commision Draft Proposal

According to the draft proposal, workers would have the “rebuttable presumption of employment.” This would mean there is an employment arrangement no matter how the contract is worded. While the proposal comes from the EU Commission, the ultimate responsibility will be on countries to interpret the rules.

This proposal aims to ensure workers are appropriately classified, protect their rights, and allow them to access social security schemes and holiday entitlement. The EU is also pushing for more transparency over the apps’ algorithms and data on the apps and their workers.

While the EU and member states are keen to remove the ambiguity around the classification of gig workers quickly, many within the industry have raised their concerns with the proposal.

Gig platforms such as Bolt have raised concerns that this proposal will lead to all gig workers being classified as employed, leading to “job destruction”. Industry insiders are particularly worried that an EU-wide reclassification of gig workers as employees would lead to hundreds of legal cases across the 27 member states.

CXC EMEA’s view is that Gig Workers should be afforded sufficient protections similar to “Worker Status” in the UK which provides workers with employment related rights but still ensures that the Labour Market retains flexibility.

The proposal details will be available in full on Wednesday, December 8th.  CXC will be providing our view then along with a number of sector experts.

Watch this space for likely seismic change in the Gig Economy.

References

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