EU Countries Amend Draft Proposal on Gig Workers' Rights, Triggering Discontent among Companies
EU countries propose amendments to gig workers' rights draft, leading to backlash from companies. Controversy surrounds criteria for determining employment status.
EU countries have recently introduced modifications to a draft proposal aimed at granting employee benefits to gig workers employed by online platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo. However, these amendments have sparked dissatisfaction among both the companies and EU lawmakers, who are advocating for more extensive regulations compared to those suggested by the European Commission and EU governments.
The draft rules, initially announced by the EU executive in late 2021, seek to establish a pioneering global framework that ensures a fair playing field between online enterprises and traditional businesses.
The revised version of the proposal, agreed upon by EU countries on Monday, outlines seven criteria, requiring companies to meet at least three in order to be considered employers. These criteria encompass supervising workers through electronic means, imposing restrictions on their ability to choose working hours and tasks, preventing them from working for third parties, setting a ceiling on wages, establishing guidelines on appearance and conduct, and limiting the use of subcontractors or substitutes.
In February, the European Parliament proposed its own set of changes, insisting on the inclusion of an indicative list of criteria to accurately determine whether a worker qualifies as an employee. This list would encompass factors such as a fixed salary, defined working hours, direct supervision by the employer, and other similar indicators.
The European Commission estimates that the proposed rules would cover approximately 4.1 million gig workers out of a total of 28 million employed by online platform companies across the 27-member European Union.
While EU countries argue that workers should be informed about the use of algorithms in decision-making processes that affect them, EU lawmakers emphasize that crucial decisions should not be solely entrusted to automated systems.
The proposed amendments have drawn criticism from Uber and Delivery Platforms Europe, a consortium comprising Bolt, Deliveroo, Delivery Hero, Glovo, Uber, and Wolt. Uber's Vice President, Anabel Diaz Calderon, voiced her concerns, stating, "As many countries across Europe have demonstrated, there are better ways to uphold European social values without removing the independence and flexibility that the majority of platform workers say they want."
Delivery Platforms Europe expressed equal dissatisfaction with the current text, claiming that it fails to draw a distinct line between employment and self-employment while doing little to improve the situation for genuinely self-employed individuals.
The next phase involves negotiations between EU countries, EU lawmakers, and the European Commission to refine the details before the draft proposal is transformed into formal legislation.