Platform workers: MEPs validate the law to strengthen their rights

After several years of European negotiations to find an agreement, the European Parliament approved, on Wednesday April 24, legislation which strengthens the rights of workers on digital platforms such as Uber or Deliveroo

Platform workers: MEPs validate the law to strengthen their rights

After several years of European negotiations to find an agreement, the European Parliament approved, on Wednesday April 24, legislation which strengthens the rights of workers on digital platforms such as Uber or Deliveroo. The law was validated by a very large majority (554 votes for, 56 against, 24 abstentions).

The text plans to reclassify as employees many people currently working under self-employed status as vehicle drivers or delivery people. But the terms of these requalifications remain vague and dependent on national regulations even though the text was supposed to establish a harmonized European framework guaranteeing legal certainty.

A political agreement between negotiators from Member States and Parliament was painfully reached at the beginning of March, without France and Germany, on this text which was the subject of intense lobbying by the companies concerned.

Great autonomy of States in the application of the text

The European Commission estimates that "at least 5.5 million", out of a total of almost 30 million, are the number of platform workers wrongly registered as self-employed and therefore unfairly deprived of the social benefits of employment.

Initially, the text proposed at the end of 2021 by the Commission created a presumption of employment on the basis of objective criteria unified at the level of the European Union (EU): the fact that a platform sets remuneration levels, supervises remote services, does not allow its employees to choose their schedules or refuse missions, imposes the wearing of uniforms, or even prohibits working for other companies... But the compromise ultimately adopted renounces this list, leaving great autonomy to member states.

A “legal presumption” of employment will have to be introduced into each of the twenty-seven legal systems of the member countries. It will be triggered when facts demonstrate “control” of workers by the company. But these facts will be established “according to national law and national collective agreements, having regard to EU case law”.

The text will still allow platform workers to challenge their status by invoking this “legal presumption” and the burden of proof will fall on employers. The legislation must still be subject to formal validation by the Council of the EU, which brings together the 27 member states.