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Platform Workers Directive: National implementation is now key
EU | Brussels

Platform Workers Directive: National implementation is now key

15 Mar 2024 · People

EU Member States have reached a last-minute consensus on the Platform Workers Directive, aiming to regulate the gig economy while accommodating diverse national models. The focus now turns to national implementation.

The Platform Workers Directive agreement reached by Member States primarily focuses on establishing a legal presumption of employment for platform workers who contest their classification – a crucial safeguard against prevalent unfair labour practices in the gig economy.

However, reclassification criteria and related processes to provide legal clarity for both 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. The Directive's emphasis on national law, collective agreements and case law will allow Member States to tailor the particular situation to local specificities, going hand in hand with the local nature of some of these services.

Negotiators recognise differences

The definition of the digital labour platform does draw a line between traditional transport services and digital labour platforms, including the use of automated monitoring and decision-making systems.

IRU Director of EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “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 entities should embrace existing regulatory frameworks.”

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

Implementation will be key

While there will be an obligation to impose the legal presumption of employment, the criteria under which the workers will be reclassified will remain a matter of national law.

Industry representatives have previously cautioned against potential pitfalls for small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed workers. They have stressed the need for additional specific criteria to ensure a comprehensive assessment.

“No matter how appropriate the final agreed definition is, the distinction cannot be made just on a definition in some cases. Additional specific criteria will be necessary from the very beginning to enable a complete assessment. 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 facing the broader tourism sector,” said Raluca Marian.

The Directive still needs to be formally signed off by the European Parliament’s plenary. It will represent minimum standards which will have to be set in national legislation within two years from the Directive’s entry into force.