On 9 December 2021, the European Commission
presented a draft
directive to improve working conditions in platform work. The background is
that platform workers are often classified as self-employed and therefore have
no or limited access to social security schemes in most European legal systems.
With the help of the directive, uniform criteria are to be made available
for a better demarcation of the platforms as possible employers.
While the European Parliament adopted its
position on 2 February, the Czech Council Presidency failed to find a
compromise in the European Council. The Swedish Council Presidency has now
presented a new compromise proposal.
Legal presumption of employment
The regulations on the presumption of
employee status are in particular a matter of dispute between the Member
States; in the draft directive, the European Commission names criteria
on the basis of which the employee status can be checked. If two of the
criteria are met, employment exists and the "presumption of
employment" must be backed up by an administrative procedure, including
the option of legal review. The Swedish Council Presidency is trying to find a
compromise between the supporters of the proposal for a directive and the
countries from whose point of view the options for self-employment are too
Sweden has further specified the
application of the criteria for the presumption of employee status in the
compromise proposal. The current compromise therefore clarifies that the
granting of discretionary powers must only be an option and not an obligation.
The scope of this derogation is also narrowed and made subject to two
conditions: The competent authorities act on their own initiative and it is
obvious to them that it is not an employment relationship in the sense of
national legislation or collective agreements.
On the contrary, the Czech Republic had
proposed a general exception to the application of the presumption last year:
Accordingly, the competent national authorities should be able to waive the
presumption "at their own discretion" if it cannot be proven with
legal certainty. The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain were critical of this as
they saw too much leeway in this.
Equal rights for all workers
The Swedish Council Presidency has also
specified in detail so that every newly classified platform employee can claim
the general employees' rights to which he or she is entitled. It is also
important to the Swedish Council Presidency that the European Commission takes
account of the problem of labour leasing in its proposal for a directive and
that there is a clear obligation to include agencies in the scope of the
What happens next
The Swedish Council Presidency wants the
European Council to adopt a common position of the Member States in June. If
this does not succeed, the trialogue may not be concluded in this legislative