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Article

7 Dec 2021

Author:
Foo Yun Chee, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Europe: EU draft rules call for gig economy workers to be classified as employees

"Uber, Deliveroo could be hit by draft EU rules for gig workers", 7 December 2021

Uber, Deliveroo and other online platform companies may have to reclassify some of their workers as employees under draft European Union rules meant to boost their social rights, according to an EU document seen by Reuters...

Gig economy workers could be classified as employees if online platforms determine their pay, set conduct and appearance standards, supervise the performance of work through electronic means, restrict their ability to choose their working hours or tasks, and prevent them from working for third parties.

A platform company is considered an employer if it meets two of the criteria, the paper said.

The rules will also require ride-hailing, food delivery apps and other companies to provide information to employees on how their algorithms are used to monitor and evaluate them as well as for allocation of tasks and setting of fees. Employees can ask for compensation for breaches.

The rules place the burden on online platforms to provide evidence that these do not apply to them. They can also challenge their reclassification either via an administrative process or in a court...

The draft rules will need to be thrashed out with EU member states and EU lawmakers before they can be adopted, with the Commission estimating a 2025 time frame.

Sanctions for non-compliance, which can include fines, will be set by EU countries while national authorities which fail to put in place the necessary measures can face legal action by the Commission...

Trade unions say the gig economy is exploitative while companies say the business model gives workers flexibility.

...“This will lead to one out of two drivers losing their job, which is close to at least 140,000 people across the EU,” said Aurelien Pozzana, head of Public Policy Western Europe at Bolt.

Deliveroo voiced the same concerns. “These proposals will increase uncertainty and will be better for lawyers than self-employed platform workers,” a spokesperson said.

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