Improving the working conditions of platform workers: Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission’s initiative

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Series Details PE 698.839
Publication Date December 2021
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An EPRS analysis of the positions of partner governmental organisations at EU, national, regional and local levels suggests that they would like the following main considerations to be reflected in the discussion on the working conditions of platform workers: The employment status of platform workers has to be clarified. The binary system (employed or self-employed) is challenged by the specific characteristics of platform work and bogus self-employment. To give some examples, Ireland classifies workers on the basis of a series of tests, while Portugal enacts a legal presumption that transport sector platform workers are employees.

Platform workers have the right to be correctly informed. This can be facilitated by transparency, designated advisory services, information campaigns and communication channels among workers. Platforms must protect privacy, share information and data with relevant (local) authorities, while artificial intelligence-based algorithms should be controlled by a human approach. Local and regional authorities are witnessing the negative social consequences of the limited rights of platform workers. Social measures should cover the specific needs of these workers in relation to sickness, accident, unemployment, protection at work and pension benefits. More investment should be made in skills development and relevant training for platform workers. Transferability and certification of competences would, for example, support career development. The asymmetry between national legislation and issues faced locally and regionally can be mitigated by complementary EU action and strong cooperation between the levels of governance. The role of cities in particular should be acknowledged. Negotiation frameworks and charters, for example, can help all levels share good practices and learn about the impact of the measures taken.

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This Briefing forms part of an EPRS series which offers a synthesis of the pre-legislative state-of-play and advance consultation on a range of key European Commission priorities during the latter’s five-year term in office. It seeks to summarise the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examine how existing policy is working on the ground, and identify best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance.

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