According to the European Commission, around 28 million people work in digital platforms like Amazon or Uber in the Union and, of that amount, 5.5 million may not have recognized employment status that corresponds to them.
In order to regularize this situation, avoid the proliferation of false self-employed workers and guarantee the labor rights of people on these platforms, the European Comission (CE) has proposed this Thursday criteria to determine if the people employed are indeed regular staff.
Specifically, the directive presented today proposes five criteria and, If at least two of them are met, it will be considered that the platform employs that person and that this person is part of the company’s staff.
Between the five criteria posed by Brussels, a figure that (1) the company sets the level of remuneration what (2) supervise work development electronically.
Also, that (3) restrict the freedom to choose working hours or periods of absence, to accept or reject tasks and to use subcontractors or substitutes.
It also establishes the criterion that (4) lThe platform establishes binding standards on the aspect (such as the obligation to wear uniforms with the company logo), on the conduct with the client or on the performance of the work.
Likewise, it is included that (5) lThe company restricts the ability of the employee to build a customer base or work for other companies.
If at least two are met of these conditions in the employment relationship between the platform and the worker, that person will be considered a regular employee and will have right to the minimum wage, to collective bargaining, to paid vacations or to better access to protection against accidents at work, unemployment and sickness benefits, as well as contributory old-age pensions.
Option to contest
What would happen in the event that one of the two parties wants to challenge the designation of the staff as a worker?
Both platforms and employees will have the possibility to do so through judicial or administrative procedures.
Yes, it’s company the one that opposes, it will be up to the company to prove that there is no employment relationship with the worker. If, on the contrary, it is the employed person The one that rejects the designation as such, the platform must contribute to the “adequate resolution” of the procedures, “in particular, providing all the relevant information,” Brussels said in a statement.
The EC hopes that with this directive between 1.7 million and 4.1 million people will see their status as a staff employee recognized on these digital platforms.
Others could become authentic freelancers, “since some platforms could adjust their business model,” Brussels explained.
Legislation and transparency
Community sources specified that the five criteria chosen are based on European and Member State jurisprudence on the matter. Therefore, they are principles that community club courts have used to confirm an employment relationship between an employee and a platform.
The directive also covers algorithmic management, which increasingly replaces managers when assigning tasks, monitoring and evaluating work performed, providing incentives or imposing sanctions.
The proposal increases transparency in the use of algorithms by platforms, ensures human control over working conditions, and grants the right to challenge automated decisions. These new rights will apply to both regular workers and the truly self-employed.
Together with the directive, Brussels today opened a public consultation on the guidelines for applying EU competition law to the collective agreements of the self-employed who work alone.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.