Published on 13th June 2023
The correct classification of people performing platform work, either as workers or as genuine self-employed, is essential to ensure appropriate working conditions and a fair level playing field in the platform work economy. The fact that the EU Council confirmed the concept of a presumption of an employment relationship – as already highlighted in the European Commission proposal and the European Parliament position – is welcomed by the World Employment Confederation-Europe. The Council confirmed that in cases where the legal presumption applies, it will be up to digital labour platforms to illustrate that no employment relationship exists.
However, unlike the Parliament, the Council maintains EU-level criteria to determine the employment status of people performing services via digital labour platforms. Such criteria are essential to determine labour rights and access to social protection for people performing platform work. “Given the nature of platform work, the labour rights and social protection offered to people performing platform work are also essential for the agency work industry in Europe to ensure a fair level-playing field and avoid unfair competition to the detriment of workers”, explains Menno Bart, WEC-Europe Executive Committee Member. Here, the European Parliament’s position includes a critical amendment not covered in the Council’s approach, specifying that for digital labour platforms performing agency work services, the Directive on temporary agency work should fully apply. The World Employment Confederation-Europe supports such a regulatory approach.
The proposed Directive on platform work also includes rules on the use of automated decision-making and artificial intelligence in the workplace, which the private employment services industry has generally welcomed.
Following the European Parliament’s first reading position and the EU Council’s general approach, the Commission, the Parliament and the Council will now enter inter-institutional negotiations with a view to adopting the Directive on platform work before the end of the current legislative term of the European Parliament and EU Commission in 2024.
Currently, the majority of the EU’s 28 million platform workers, including taxi drivers, domestic workers, food delivery drivers and workers performing short-term and micro-tasks, are self-employed. According to the European Commission, around 5.5 million of those workers who currently classified as self-employed are in a de-facto employment relationship with the digital labour platforms and should therefore benefit from similar rights as employees. With this proposal for a EU Directive on platform work, the European Union aims to improve the working conditions for people providing services via digital platforms.