EU Commission publishes new study.

JS – 04/2020

In March, the EU Commission published a new study on the working conditions of platform workers. Platform work is understood as any work that is done via, on or intermediated by online platforms.

This covers a broad range of working models including jobs performed exclusively online, such as graphic design, or local services such as driving and delivery services.

The main objective of the study was to find out whether action at EU level is needed in this diverse and growing market to improve the working conditions and social protection of platform workers, and if so, what this entails.

What is the situation in the Member States?

An analysis of working conditions was done for each EU Member State, Norway and Iceland.

The results were very different. A common feature is that there are hardly any legal regulations that relate specifically to platform work in the EU countries. The focus was mainly on competition and market regulations, less on people’s working conditions. In contrast, there were significant variations between the Member States in terms of case law regarding employment status.

Does EU legislation provide solutions?

The study also looked at whether and to what extent existing EU legislation can solve the challenges facing platform work. One problem identified is that the regulations differentiate between employees and self-employed persons. Depending on how a country define these terms, the regulations are not relevant for all platform workers.

The study makes specific reference to Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union and the General Data Protection Regulation. According to the study, both regulations help clarify several of the problem areas concerning platform workers, but not fully.

The new Platform-to-Business Regulation 2019/1150 (P2B Regulation) on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services is also considered an important step. However, the study notes that it is still unclear which groups of persons are actually covered by this regulation.

Key findings of the study

The study’s main conclusions are as follows:

  • All platform workers would benefit from better or more suitable protection.

  • Employment status remains a key issue at national and EU level.

  • Challenges related to job intermediation, including the use of algorithms, are largely unaddressed, particularly at national level.

  • In addition to regulatory options, voluntary codes of conduct or charters for platforms could be beneficial.

  • The lack of data makes it difficult to provide sufficient understanding of platform work.