Greenlight for EU Gig Work Law


Outcome fails to resolve employment status debate, despite initial aim

Improved worker protections, algorithm transparency measures approved

Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and other platform companies must offer better working conditions under a new EU law approved today. Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe has welcomed the enhanced protections for workers included in the Platform Workers Directive, but cautioned that the EU must go much further to strengthen their rights. The law initially aimed to settle the debate on whether gig workers are employees or self-employed, but it was watered down significantly during the negotiations. Under the agreement approved by MEPs today, these workers can now rely only on a ‘presumption’ of employment, to be defined by each EU country in their implementation of the law. The Directive was approved by a majority of 554 MEPs in favour, 56 against and 24 abstentions.

Ciarán Cuffe MEP said:

"This law is an important step in the fight against the scourge of bogus self-employment in Europe. The current business model places significant pressure on platform workers who must work much harder to make a living, with some people paid solely on the basis of deliveries made and not time worked. Under significant pressure, they are more likely to take risks like breaking red lights or using their phones, and are more likely to be involved in collisions as a result.
“This law will improve conditions for some of Europe's most precarious workers, offering them a legal presumption of employment, new channels to report violence and harassment in their work, protection against company monitoring of conversations between workers, and a right to human review of management decisions made by algorithms.
“We would have preferred to go much further with this law. We wanted to finally give a definitive answer on whether platform workers in Europe are employees or independent contractors. This proved impossible however, due to heavy opposition from countries like France and Germany under pressure from corporate platforms and despite what was uncovered by major investigations like the Uber Files. Now, Ireland must ensure that we implement the most ambitious version of this Directive possible, and finally give voice to people who simply ask for their basic rights as workers to be respected and upheld.”

There are 28 million platform workers in Europe, according to European Commission estimates, and at least 4 million of those are considered to be misclassified as self-employed instead of employees. The misclassification of workers can allow platforms to evade labour, tax, and social security legislation that apply to employees. It is estimated that 55% of platform workers earn less than the minimum wage, spend around 8.9 hours a week on unpaid work, and face higher health and security risks. The vast majority of platform companies (97%) do not pay any contributions towards unemployment benefits.  


April 24, 2024

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