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9 Dec 2021

Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian

EU: Gig economy workers to get employee status, incl. minimum wage & sick pay, under new law proposal

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"Gig economy workers to get employee rights under EU proposals", 9 December 2021

Gig economy companies operating in the European Union, such as Uber and Deliveroo, must ensure workers get the minimum wage, access to sick pay, holidays and other employment rights under plans for new laws to crack down on fake self-employment.

Publishing long-awaited draft legislation on Thursday, the European Commission said the burden of proof on employment status would shift to companies, rather than the individuals that work for them. Until now, gig economy workers have had to go to court to prove they are employees, or risk being denied basic rights.

Nicolas Schmit, EU commissioner for jobs and social rights, told the Guardian and other European newspapers that internet platforms “have used grey zones in our legislation [and] all possible ambiguities” to develop their business models, resulting in a “misclassification” of millions of workers.

In the EU’s 27 member states, about 5.5 million workers are misclassified as self-employed, when they should be treated as employees with benefits and protection, such as accident insurance, according the commission. Firms would only have to pay minimum wages, where they already exist. About 28 million people work for platforms in the EU, but this is expected to reach 43 million by 2025.

The proposals are an attempt to provide legal certainty, after European courts have been asked to settle about 100 disputes relating to gig economy companies. France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal tightened up domestic laws, but EU officials believe no government has fully addressed the problem.

...The EU proposals will be amended by national ministers and MEPs before they become law.