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Europe is still awaiting the new law on platform work

The adaptation of the proposal for a directive on improving working conditions in platform work was hindered by the Council of Ministers on 22 December 2023due to the reason that on the basis of the directive, even those platform workers could be presumed to be employers who are actually self-employed, and the adaptation of the law would mean a huge administrative burden on platform employers.

Platform work means that an organisation or individual occupies others - in exchange for payment - by using an online platform through which it gives instructions and informs the workers what kind of specific service they should provide. The number of platform workers has increased consistently since the pandemic, and by 2022 there were 28 million of them. However, by 2025 their number is predicted to be 43 million. At the moment they are formally self-employed, but in many cases, they should rather be treated as employees based on their legal relation with digital labour platforms.

The European Legislator’s goal is to provide these workers with all legal benefits of employee status, such as labour rights, social security, access to public health services, etc. Therefore, the proposal defines the correct employment status of platform workers and introduces new rules on algorithm systems used in workplaces.

The directive defines five ‘indicators of employment’: there is a maximum limit on the amount workers can earn; their performance is supervised; the distribution of tasks is controlled by the employer as well as working conditions, the employees’ right to choose working hours is restricted as well as their freedom to organise their work. However, the directive allows national legislators to add other indicators to the list. If an online labour platform fulfils a minimum of two of these indicators, its workers would be presumed to be employees.

In the past few years labour platforms have been developing algorithm systems with the objective of more effective organisation and management of workers. These systems need to be regulated in order to avoid any possible infringement of workers’ rights. Therefore, the directive would oblige labour platforms to inform their workers if they use automated decision-making or monitoring systems, and it would be forbidden to process personal data related to the psychological-emotional state of workers, actual or potential trade union activity or private conversations of workers, biometric data (except data used for authentication) and any personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, health or sex life.

In conclusion, as the regulation of platform work is a necessity, the EU is expected to come out with new legislation in the near future.