EU wants millions of workers in odd-job economy to get paid time off and minimum wages
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The European Commission has proposed new rules for “digital platforms” On Thursday, that could force transport and delivery companies like Uber and Deliveroo to reclassify their contract drivers as employees. The Commission estimates that the rules could affect between 1.7 and 4.1 million people.
The proposals, if passed, would expose companies to government fines and workers’ compensation claims, and could bring in up to € 4 billion ($ 4.5 billion) in tax revenue each year. additional to EU Member States, says the Commission.
“We must make the most of the job creation potential of digital platforms,” Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, said in a statement. “But we also need to make sure that these are quality jobs, which do not promote precariousness, so that the people who work there have security and can plan for their future.”
Workers who currently have the status of self-employed will in future be treated as employees if two of the following criteria are met: working electronically and prohibiting them from working for third parties.
And the burden of proof would fall on companies – not workers – to show that the criteria were not met.
The Commission said in its proposal that some workers were “denied social and labor rights that would derive from employment status”, such as the right to receive minimum wages, paid holidays and to participate in collective bargaining. .
Employers should also tell workers exactly how their digital platforms monitor them and assign tasks.
The proposals take the form of a draft directive, a piece of legislation which, once approved by EU governments and the European Parliament, is then enacted in member states through the introduction of local laws – a process that can take years.
Uber and Deliveroo push back
Concert employers have already faced legal challenges in several countries, including Spain and the UK, regarding how they classify workers. In February, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers were workers, not contractors, and were entitled to rights such as paid time off.
Uber’s business model contrasts sharply with some fast-growing 15-minute delivery apps, such as Gorillas, which employ their passengers. The German-owned company says on its website that it was a “very deliberate decision to be a counter-model to the odd-job economy” and claims its riders have health insurance and paid vacation.
A spokesperson for Uber told CNN Business in an emailed statement that the company is “committed to improving the working conditions of the hundreds of thousands of drivers and couriers who rely on our app for work. flexible”.
“But we fear the Commission proposal will have the opposite effect – putting thousands of jobs at risk, crippling small businesses in the wake of the pandemic and damaging vital services on which consumers across the country depend. Europe, “added the spokesperson.
A spokesperson for Deliveroo told CNN Business in a statement that the EU’s proposals “will increase uncertainty and be better for lawyers than platform freelancers,” and the company “s ‘engage constructively with the EU and Member States to ensure that our concerns and the best interests of riders are taken into account. “
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