Better platform working protection in Europe
Consultation with the social partners: Commission launches the second phase
Dr. S-W – 06/2021
The EC had set itself the goal of improving
the working conditions of platform workers by the time that President von der
Leyen took office. Prior to this it intended to consult the social partners in
a two-phase procedure. The first phase was completed on April 7.
The trade unions see further European
initiatives quite positively, whereas the employers expressed themselves rather
cautiously. On the basis of the responses received, the Commission concluded
that there was a need for action to attain basic European-wide labour and
social standards and launched the second
phase on June 15 with the help of the C(2021) 4230 final consultation
document. It seeks views on a number of issues, including the determining the
employment status, access to social security, transparency of the algorithms
being used and applicable law in cross-border cases. The question regarding the
instrument is also raised here; as the choice would be between a directive or a
recommendation. The aim of the Commission initiative is to guarantee adequate
working conditions and social standards for platform workers.
central problem on the path to adequate protection is determining the
employment status. In general, the self-employed status is chosen so that an
estimated 93% of all income from platform working is generated in this way. The
risk of misclassification is high. Therefore, this initiative is intended to
help clarify the platform working status.
so, the Commission respects the national competences in defining an
"employee" - in line with the wishes of the social partners. In
particular, it has no intention of creating a "third status" at EU
level, somewhere between dependent employment and self-employed work. However,
the initiative is intended as a guide to help member states arrive at the
correct classification in each case.
The Commission presented several possible
tools here, including:
- a refutable presumption of the
existence of an employment relationship in the event of platform working
- an easily accessible
(administrative) procedure for clarifying the employment status
It would be conclusive here to consider
providing the bodies that will be deciding on the status in specific cases with
a pan-Europe catalogue of criteria or indicators. The competences of the member
states in distinguishing between dependent employment and self-employed work
might be encroached upon, but this would depend on how binding such a catalogue
and its components are.
In addition to employment status, the focus
will be on dealing with information deficits in the event of platform working,
which often crosses borders. It is estimated that one third of platform-based
work within the EU is delivered across borders. Demanding more transparency
from the platforms, whereby reporting obligations for statistical purposes are
more likely to be envisaged, could also be considered.
The next step in this phase is to start
negotiations between the social partners - the signs for which are somewhat bad
- or having the Commission present a proposal by the end of 2021.