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European Parliament endorses a balanced solution on platform workers
EU | Brussels

European Parliament endorses a balanced solution on platform workers

24 Apr 2024 · People

The European Parliament has officially approved the provisional agreement with the Council on the Platform Workers Directive at today’s plenary session. Pending confirmation from the Council, the focus now shifts to Member States.

IRU welcomes the European Parliament's endorsement of the Platform Workers Directive. This critical legislation, aimed at regulating gig economy practices across the EU, has now moved closer to becoming law with its impending approval by the Council.

The plenary’s approval comes after a lengthy negotiation process, during which the text underwent many revisions. The final version does not include the concerning trend of automatically reclassifying all self-employed individuals.

Balanced solution based on national specificities

The Platform Workers Directive endorsed by the Parliament primarily focuses on establishing a legal presumption of employment for platform workers, offering them protection against unfair labour practices in the gig economy.

However, the reclassification criteria and related processes to provide legal clarity for workers and companies alike will be decided and legislated at the national level.

While the directive falls short of industry expectations for clear EU-wide criteria, IRU recognises the agreement's value in protecting the rights of misclassified workers in the platform economy.

Having criteria to determine facts indicating control and direction is crucial. This ensures a comprehensive assessment and provides legal certainty for small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed individuals.

IRU Director of EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, "No matter how appropriate the final agreed definition is, the distinction cannot be fully made based on a simple definition in some cases.

“Additional specific criteria will be necessary from the very beginning to enable a complete assessment. We expect that clarification will happen at the national level, as it was unfortunately missed at the EU level.”

“Moreover, where our members engage with genuine platforms, it is important for their partners to preserve the legal option to engage self-employed professionals, especially given the significant labour shortage,” she added.

The directive's emphasis on national law, collective agreements and case law will allow Member States to tailor the criteria to local specificities, going hand in hand with the local nature of some of these services.

Agreement recognises differences

The directive acknowledges the differences between traditional taxi services and digital labour platforms.

Traditional taxi services operate within a heavily regulated framework, with drivers often working as self-employed individuals or employed by small companies.

Unlike ride-hailing platforms, taxi dispatch centres typically act as intermediaries without control over pricing or work performance, logically exempting them from the legal presumption of employment.

“The EU economy thrives on a blend of traditional employment and self-employment, respecting diverse social and taxation models. Rather than dismissing this model due to non-compliance by some new entrants, these companies should embrace existing regulatory frameworks”, said Raluca Marian.

“Furthermore, the Platform Worker Directive's acknowledgment of traditional taxi dispatch centres, distinguishing them from the gig economy for the first time, marks a significant achievement,” she concluded.

Next steps

The directive now needs formal approval by the Council. Once enacted, Member States will have to implement the directive into national legislation, marking a significant advancement in the regulation of the gig economy across Europe.