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Working conditions for digital platforms

Improving working conditions for digital labour platforms

Measures to improve conditions for workers on digital labour platforms will be negotiated by the European Parliament and the member states. The parliament has approved its mandate for the talks with member states and negotiations on the new law can start when member states in the council have decide on their position.

The new rules are meant to regulate how to correctly determine the employment status of platform workers and how digital labour platforms can use algorithms and artificial intelligence to monitor and evaluate workers.

The parliament’s Employment Committee has earlier adopted draft negotiating mandate. Basically, a person performing platform work can be either an employed worker, and have related labour rights, or be self-employed and able to determine how to carry out the service. The rules aim to combat false self-employment as it may lead to bad working conditions, lack of social protection and also unfair competition.

MEPs in the committee introduced a list of non-mandatory criteria to determine a worker’s employment status, such as a set salary, defined time schedule and working time, rating systems, tracking or supervision of a worker, rules regarding appearance or conduct, restricted options to work for any third party or restricted freedom to choose accident insurance or a pension scheme.

The committee said algorithmic management should be more transparent by obliging platforms to give information to workers on how the monitoring is being used and how it affects their employment relationship, health, safety and working conditions as well as on terminating accounts, promotion or task allocation. 

The committee supported the Commission proposal that the rules should apply to all digital labour platforms, irrespective of their place of establishment and provided that the work is performed in the EU. The definition of a digital labour platform should include platforms providing outsourcing or the allocation of tasks for a large pool of customers online (crowd-work or micro-work-platforms). MEPs also distinguished between ride hailing digital labour platforms, which are covered by the new rules and taxi dispatch services, regulated under national laws.

Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D, IT), the lead MEP said: “Too many platform workers today are bogusly self-employed, stuck in limbo with no labour rights and social protection.”

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