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13 May 2021

Aritz Parra & Renata Brito, Associated Press

Spain: Govt. approves landmark law to oblige "gig economy" companies to employ their freelancers

"Spain adopts landmark law to protect 'gig' delivery workers", 11 May 2021

Spain approved a pioneering law Tuesday that gives delivery platforms a mid-August deadline to hire workers currently freelancing for them and that requires transparency of artificial intelligence used to manage workforces.

The royal decree passed by the center-left ruling coalition immediately affects some 30,000 couriers. It comes in the wake of a ruling by Spain’s top court last year and at a time when other countries in Europe and elsewhere are deciding on a labor model for the so-called gig economy, which is often blamed for precarious jobs and low salaries.

That's because, until now, gig and other contractor workers had to pay social security fees from their own pockets if they wanted to receive benefits including unemployment subsidies and a public pension...

Uber said that the regulation would hurt the couriers "who use food delivery apps for much-needed flexible earning opportunities” and also the restaurant industry in Spain which, amid the coronavirus pandemic, is increasingly relying on delivery to make ends meet...

Four of the associations said that a model that requires companies to give them contracts could lead to the loss of 23,000 of some 30,000 existing jobs.

But the general secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s main workers’ unions, said the riders protesting against the law were controlled by the platforms and that the law was meant to protect labor rights across the board...