On 13 December, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal for a directive to improve the working conditions and social rights of digital platform workers. In particular, the text aims to ensure the correct classification of their employment status and to introduce rules on algorithmic management and the use of artificial intelligence.
Currently, more than 28 million people in the EU work through one or more platforms. Although most of them are formally self-employed, around 5.5 million may be misclassified as such, depriving them of important rights, particularly in terms of social protection. To combat ‘bogus self-employment’, the new rules introduce a presumption of employment if two of the following five control indicators are present, namely whether the platform:
- determines or limits workers’ remuneration;
- monitors the performance of workers, including by electronic means;
- controls the distribution or assignment of tasks;
- restricts the freedom of workers to determine their working hours and absences and to accept or refuse work;
- restricts the freedom of workers to organise their work and imposes rules on their appearance or conduct.
The presumption of an employment relationship may be raised by the worker, his representatives or the competent authorities on their own initiative. The platform can rebut this presumption if it can prove otherwise.
In addition, under the new rules, platforms will not be allowed to take certain important decisions (e.g. dismissals, suspension of accounts) without human oversight. They will have to assess the impact of decisions taken by automated monitoring and decision-making systems on working conditions, health and safety and fundamental rights. They will not be able to process certain types of personal data (e.g. private exchanges with colleagues or when an employee is not at work). Finally, they will have to provide information on the self-employed workers they employ to the competent national authorities and to representatives of platform workers, such as trade unions.
For the rapporteur of the draft, Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D, IT), this agreement is “revolutionary”. The agreed text must now be formally adopted by the Parliament and the Council to enter into force.
To find out more
Eurogip report “Platform workers: what status for what social protection? Characteristics – European initiatives – Situation in 6 European countries” (the report is in French but with a summary in English)