The Platform Work Directive will arrive after all!

In recent years, platforms have developed rapidly. The services offered through platforms, such as delivering food or arranging a ride, are eagerly and frequently used. The workers who provide these services for the platforms (such as delivery drivers and chauffeurs) are often wrongfully self-employed. In practice, these false self-employed workers are actually employees, as was the case with Deliveroo, for example. In several EU countries, false self-employment is seen as a problem that needs to be addressed. Therefore, an agreement was recently reached on a Platform Work Directive between European ministers of social affairs and employment. The aim of this directive is to improve working conditions in platform work, to protect vulnerable platform workers more effectively and to counter false self-employment. The main proposals from the agreement are discussed in this article.

The proposal for the Directive on improving working conditions in platform work

The goal of the Directive is to improve working conditions and personal data protection in platform work by;

  1. Establishing the legal presumption that platform work is executed under an employment agreement.
    The Directive will introduce a legal presumption. The legal presumption entails that a person performing work through a platform will be presumed to be performing this work as an employee when there is evidence of authority and management from the platform. This legal presumption will seek to facilitate correct determination of the employment status of any workers performing work through a platform. Since it is a legal presumption, the platform does have the possibility to rebut this presumption, by demonstrating that the relationship is not an employment contract.
  2. Rules on the processing of personal data.
    The Directive contains restrictions on the processing of personal data of platform workers through algorithms for automated decision-making or monitoring.This includes that platforms are prohibited from processing personal data relating to emotional or psychological state and private conversations (such as with other platform workers). Processing personal data to derive a person’s race, religious beliefs, disability, health status and sexual orientation, among others, is also not allowed. Nor may biometric data (fingerprint or an iris scan) be stored in a database. In addition, platforms are also not allowed to collect data from the platform worker when that person is not performing platform work.
  3. Restriction on algorithmic management
    The Directive will require platforms to notify platform workers about the use of systems/algorithms for automated monitoring or decision-making. This includes systems already in use as well as those being introduced. The platform should be transparent about the purpose of monitoring and how it is realised.Platforms will be required to use human monitoring and supervision of automated systems. As part of this, platforms will have to assess the impact of decisions made by algorithms at least once every two years.Under the Directive, certain decisions may no longer be made by algorithms. Important decisions such as, for example, dismissal, work reduction, wage stop or other decisions affecting essential aspects of the employment relationship must be taken by human oversight. This includes decisions that limit, suspend or close the platform worker’s access to their account. Platform workers must be given the opportunity to request the platform to review any such decision. The platform will then have to provide a reasoned written response within two weeks.

What is next?

The proposal on the Directive is yet to be formally ratified by the European Parliament. After that, member states have two years to implement the directive. If there are any developments under this directive, we will of course inform you via our channels.

Helene Pruymboom

Published On: 30 May 2024

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