The effects of working via digital platforms on working conditions and
social protection was a focus of this year’s International Social Security
Association (ISSA) World Forum on 14-18 October in Brussels. Three reports were
The first of these worth mentioning is a study by Alexandre Defossez, consultant
with the Belgian National Employment Office (ONEM). The study focuses on the
challenges facing unemployment insurance and what is happening in four specific
countries. The study concludes that social security has not yet adapted to new
forms of work and stresses the need for reform. The study can be downloaded here.
Another report was prepared by Javier Albar from the Spanish General
Social Security Treasury. He draws on nine different countries to present
specific regulatory initiatives or national legal frameworks with regard to
employment relationships, in particular the role of labour law. His conclusions
address contribution collection, technical enforcement of contribution requirements
and the specific role of platform operators with regard to these. Albar concludes
that social security systems should guarantee platform workers a minimum level
of protection in line with that offered other workers and regardless of their
legal status. The report can be viewed here.
The most detailed and carefully researched study by far was conducted by
Dr. Christoph Freudenberg of the German Federal Pension Insurance. As part of an
international analysis of the dimension of the platform work economy, the
author examined various issues including the role played by the income earned
by a worker through platform work; namely, is this their main income or extra income?
A comparative analysis of labour and social security laws is followed by a
comparison of legal and effective coverage in statutory pension schemes. An
overview of possible good practices, especially given the cross-country nature of
platform work, rounds off the study. The report can be read here.