Representatives from some of the main EU institutions have finally reached a provisional agreement on the Platform Workers Directive after nearly two years of challenging negotiations.
The European Commission estimates that nearly one in five platform workers should be reclassified from self-employed to full-time employees. The directive aims to regulate the gig economy, ensuring that workers on platforms like Deliveroo and Uber get the right contractual status based on their treatment and working conditions.
Additionally, it introduces algorithmic management provisions to safeguard gig workers’ data and regulate the use of algorithms in work-related decisions like remuneration and dismissal.
Describing the agreement as “very historic,” EU Parliament rapporteur Elisabetta Gualmini highlighted the creation of a social rights framework for millions of precarious workers in Europe.
The meeting, which involved the EU Commission, Council, and Parliament, lasted 11 hours and concluded with a provisional agreement, subject to fine-tuning at the technical level and formal adoption by co-legislators to become law.
One point of contention in the negotiations was the introduction of a new legal presumption of employment, allowing self-employed platform workers to be reclassified as full-time employees based on their working relationship.
The agreement maintains criteria, or ‘indicators,’ with a presumption triggered if two out of five indicators are met. Member states can add additional indicators according to their national laws.
Platforms have the responsibility to rebut the presumption if they believe a worker is genuinely self-employed. The agreement adds that if a rebuttal fails or doesn’t occur, the worker will be reclassified. The presumption will apply to tax, social security, and criminal proceedings if they are related to or influence the triggering and process of the presumption.
In terms of algorithmic management, the agreement prohibits the processing of specific sets of data. Decisions influenced by algorithms must have human oversight, and platforms must provide a written explanation. Data protection impact assessments will be required.
The agreement also defines ‘representatives of persons performing platform work’ and addresses penalties for non-compliance, leaving it to member states to decide whether to impose fines on platforms.
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