Gig worker on a delivery bike

The European Union (EU) has provisionally approved rules to improve protections and benefits for gig economy workers, largely aimed at those who deliver food and offer rides through apps.

Those who work for apps like Deliveroo, Uber, Bolt, and more tend to get missed in terms of workplace protection. The proposed rules would determine who should get similar benefits to full-time employees, as well as restrict the use of algorithms to manage gig workers.

The goal is to increase accountability and transparency for apps that rely on independent contractors, as well as remove gray areas around labor rights. The directive has been worked on for years and was provisionally approved by the EU on Wednesday, December 13.

What do the new rules state?

Although the directive still needs to be ratified by lawmakers and member states, the new rules “ensure platform workers, such as drivers and riders, receive the social and labor rights they are entitled to, without sacrificing the flexibility of the platform business model,” according to Nicolas Schmit, the bloc’s executive commissioner for jobs and social rights, as reported by AP.

Specifically, the rules aim to help clear up the employment status of as many as 5.5 million people, many of whom are currently classed as gig workers but should actually be entitled to employee benefits.

As such, some platforms that meet at least two criteria will be deemed an “employer” and people working for that company will be reclassified as “workers” with the right to a minimum wage, paid vacation, pensions, and unemployment and sickness benefits.

The criteria include factors such as limiting pay electronically through algorithms, supervising work performance, controlling working conditions, or dictating a worker’s appearance and conduct. There will also be more insight into automated monitoring and decision-making systems, to prevent companies from accessing certain types of personal data, such as the emotional or psychological state of workers, or predictions about potential union activity.

After ratification, member states will then have two years to transpose it into their local laws.

Featured image: Pexels

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