Challenges facing platform workers
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.
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
- 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.