20 Mar
platform work

Platform Work: first green light to new EU rules on employment status

On Tuesday (19 March 2024), the Employment and Social Affairs Committee endorsed a political deal on a new bill aiming to improve the working conditions of platform workers.

The new rules, agreed on by the Parliament and the Council in February, aim to ensure that platform workers have their employment status classified correctly and to correct bogus self-employment. They also regulate, for the first time ever in the EU, the use of algorithmic management and artificial intelligence in the workplace.

The provisional agreement on the Platform Work Directive was adopted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee with 37 votes in favour and 3 against.

Presumption of an employment relationship

The new law introduces a presumption of an employment relationship (as opposed to self-employment) that is triggered when facts indicating control and direction are present, according to national law and collective agreements, and taking into account EU-case law.

The directive obliges EU countries to establish a rebuttable legal presumption of employment at national level, aiming to correct the imbalance of power between the platform and the person performing platform work. The burden of proof lies with the platform, meaning that it is up to the platform to prove that there is no employment relationship. When a platform wants to rebut the presumption, it is up to them to prove that the contractual relationship is not an employment relationship.

New rules on algorithmic management

The new rules ensure that a person performing platform work cannot be fired or dismissed based on a decision taken by an algorithm or an automated decision making system. Instead, platforms must ensure human oversight on important decisions that directly affect the persons performing platform work.

The directive introduces rules that protect platform workers’ data more robustly. Platforms will be forbidden from processing certain types of personal data, such as on personal beliefs and private exchanges with colleagues.

Finally, the text improves transparency by obliging platforms to inform workers and their representatives of how their algorithms work and how a worker’s behaviour affects decisions taken by automated systems.

Next steps

The agreed text will now have to be formally endorsed by the Parliament during the 22-25 April plenary session. It then also needs to be formally adopted by the Council. After its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, member states will have two years to incorporate the provisions of the directive into their national legislation.

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