The emergence of the gig economy has effected a fundamental shift in the employment landscape worldwide in recent years. In the EU alone, 28 million people currently work on digital platforms, a figure that has been predicted to grow tHow digital platforms are transforming the world of worko 43 million by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this pattern of growth, as more and more of us relied on home deliveries, one of the industries most likely to adopt a gig model.
Under this model, workers log on to a platform such as Uber, Deliveroo or TaskRabbit and the platform matches them with someone who wants a service. Workers log on when they choose and many appreciate the flexibility and easy access to work the gig economy offers. However, platform workers are usually considered to be self-employed by the platform, meaning they do not benefit from some of the protections offered by ‘traditional’ employment: sick pay, paid holiday, protection against work accidents and dismissal, and old age pensions, among others.
Whether, in fact, platform workers should have an employment status that entitles them to a greater level of protection is a hot topic and one national courts have examined frequently over recent years, often coming to opposing conclusions based on the facts presented to them. On 9 December 2021 the EU released a draft Directive which seeks to clarify this controversy by creating a ‘presumption’ that platform workers are employed if two out of the five criteria it sets out are met.
In the meantime, and outside the EU, national courts continue to grapple with the issue. Ius Laboris lawyers worldwide are keeping track of developments.
The EU gig economy package
Launched in December 2021, the EU’s digital platform worker proposals seek to bring more certainty on workers’ employment status, and improve their working conditions.
Worker or self-employed?
A round up of recent case law on employment status in the gig economy.
The future of the gig economy
How is the gig model changing the world of work across the globe, and what changes are on the horizon?