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Platform Work Directive

The European Parliament reached a deal on the Platform Work Directive in December 2022. Platform work is a form of employment in which organisations/individuals use an online platform to access other organisations/individuals to provide services in exchange for payment. Member States have different approaches to platform work and courts in the EU decide on the employment status of platform workers on a case-by-case basis.

The original wording of the directive put forward by the European Commission in 2021 was intended to ensure that people working through digital labour platforms are granted the employment status that corresponds to their actual work arrangements. To determine whether the platform is an employer, the Commission provided a list of five control criteria. If at least two of these criteria are met, the people working through the platform should enjoy the labour and social rights that come with the status of 'employee'. The agreement reached by the Parliament went even further with the complete removal of the list of criteria. Instead, the Parliament agreed to let workers, trade unions and national authorities trigger the presumption if they deemed it fair, with no conditions to fulfil. The platform would then have the right to rebut the presumption by proving that workers are ‘genuinely self-employed’.

The second part of the directive sets out transparency requirements in relation to the use of algorithms by digital labour platforms. Digital labour platforms use algorithmic systems to organise and manage the people performing platform work through their applications/websites. The deal includes the requirement of human oversight for all algorithmic decisions that ‘significantly affect working conditions’ and promote collective bargaining for platform workers.

The details of the political agreement in the Parliament are subject to plenary adoption at the beginning of 2023. Once voted in plenary, the directive proposal will then be subject to trialogue negotiations later in 2023.