Ministers for employment and social affairs from European Union (EU) member states have reached an agreement on European Council’s proposed directive aimed at improving working conditions for gig economy workers, as reported by the Financial Times on June 13. The directive addresses the issue of correctly determining the employment status of individuals working for digital platforms and introduces the first EU rules on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. It requires companies to ensure human oversight of automated monitoring and decision-making systems. However, further negotiations between member states and the European Parliament are still required for the proposed directive to become law.
The EU currently has around 28 million platform workers, including taxi drivers, domestic workers, and food delivery drivers. Around 5.5 million of these workers are classified as self-employed and are de facto in an employment relationship with digital platforms, and therefore should be entitled to labor rights and social protection to employees under national and EU law. The Council’s proposed directive aims to address misclassifications and impose greater responsibilities on digital labor. According to the directive, workers will be legally presumed to be employees of a digital platform if their relationship with the platform meets at least three of the seven criteria outlined in the directive. These criteria include upper limits on earnings, restrictions on the ability to decline work, and regulations for appearance or conduct.