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5 Feb 2024

Théo Bourgery-Gonse, Euractiv

EU: Belgium Presidency hopes for deal with watered-down platform work directive

"Belgium Presidency hopes for 11th-hour deal with watered-down platform work directive"

Following failed interinstitutional negotiations over the platform work directive last week, the Belgium Presidency circulated yet another draft text, significantly watering down the file’s flagship chapter on the legal presumption of employment. [...]

Instead, it was agreed the Belgians would work on a new ‘joint exploratory text’, which means “an alternative text of the legal presumption, which would leave more margins for implementation to the member states,” a Presidency note dated 3 February, and seen by Euractiv, reads.

While the algorithmic management in the workplace chapter remains, in the terms agreed in the December provisional agreement, the note, which includes brand new text, in effect waters down the detailed functioning of the legal presumption – confirming information gathered by Euractiv last week.

It does away with criteria altogether, instead adding a reference to “facts indicating control and direction, according to national law, collective agreements or practice in force in the Member States and with consideration to the case-law of the Court of Justice”.

This is a significant move from past versions – and the Commission’s initial proposal –, which included a list of detailed criteria that would indicate whether there exists a subordination link between a platform and a worker.

Therefore, “there are no harmonised conditions for the triggering of the presumption in the text of the Directive,” the note reads – and it is down to member states only to decide how to act.

The revised text does, however, compel all member states to create a rebuttable legal presumption in their national system. The mechanism must make it easier for platform workers to evidence their actual contractual relationship and not make proceedings more burdensome.

A meeting of member states’ technical advisors is due to take place on Monday (5 February) to look into the details of the new draft ahead of a vote by all EU ambassadors on the revised text on Wednesday (7 February). [...]