The European Parliament's resolution on platform working was adopted by a large majority.

VS – 09/2021

On 16th September the EP (European Parliament) adopted a resolution covering a European framework for platform workers by 524 votes in favour, 39 against and 124 abstentions. This means that platform workers should have the same level of social security as employees not employed on platforms and employees with comparable fields of activity. MEPs believe that the current European legal framework does not reflect the new realities of platform working and therefore it needs to be adapted. It is important to take advantage of the opportunities provided by technological progress. However, labour and social security must be respected.

Determining the employment status - reversal of the burden of proof

Platform workers are often wrongly classified as being self-employed. This results in them being denied access to social security and other labour rights. Therefore the EP proposes reversing the burden of proof for determining an employment status: in the event of legal proceedings, the employer will be responsible for proving that no employment relationship exists under the relevant national definition of dependent employment. This should mean that platform workers will be treated as employees until the matter has been clarified by the courts.

MEPs explicitly oppose a special third employment status for platform workers. However, platform workers should not be automatically classified as employees. Those who are genuinely self-employed should retain their self-employed status.

Fair working conditions and health protection

A central demand is for the "transparent, non-discriminatory, trustworthy and ethical" use of algorithms. Moreover, from the point of view of the MEPs, it is essential that decisions based on algorithms can be challenged as well as being made through them.

The resolution contains several demands that will strengthen the rights of platform workers vis-à-vis the platform operators. Platform workers should have the right to union representation and collective bargaining. Training and further education should be made possible and exclusivity clauses should be forbidden. There should always be human supervision in the decision-making processes.

The resolution also targets the poor working conditions that platform workers are often subjected to. A healthier and safer working environment should be realised through the provision of protective and working materials. The EU’s member states are also being called upon to provide platform workers with access to accident insurance, health insurance and insurance cover in the event of a disability and to implement the EC’s recommendation about access to social security for employed and self-employed workers.

What's next?

The EC has announced that there will be a draft directive presented by the end of the year to improve the working conditions and social security for platform workers. The EP has presented its priorities for the draft directive with this resolution