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HR Legal

The EU Commission: New rules on platform work on the way

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Legal news
calendar 27 February 2022
globus Denmark

Platform work is an increasingly common type of work, which occupies millions in the EU. However, this special type of work causes challenges, namely as to whether those who perform platform work are employees or self-employed. Because of this, the EU Commission has proposed new rules on platform work, in line with those the Danish government wishes to introduce.

The proposal for the new EU rules is at a very early stage of the legislative process and it is unclear what exactly the rules will look like once implemented. However, the proposal for the new rules gives an overall insight into how platform work can be regulated in the future and what companies can expect.

The overall purpose of the rules is to improve working conditions and rights for those who perform platform work, and simultaneously to support the conditions for development of digital platforms in the EU.

Presumption that the platform worker is an employee

First and foremost, the purpose of the proposal is to classify those who perform platform work correctly, as either employees or self-employed.

Whether someone is categorized as an employee or self-employed should, going forward, depend on the conditions of the work. How a contract, if any, describes the relationship between the platform worker and the digital platform will therefore not play any role. Instead, it will be decisive if the digital platform controls the performance of the work.

The performance of the work is controlled if the digital platform:

  • Determines or sets upper limits for the level of remuneration
  • Has rules in place relating to e.g., appearance, conduct towards the recipient or performance of the work
  • Supervises the performance of the work or verifies the quality of the results
  • Has rules for the organization of the work (e.g., in relation to working hours, absence or right to accept or refuse tasks)
  • Restricts the worker’s possibility to build a client base or to perform work for any third party

If the digital platform fulfills just two of these requirements, there is a presumption that the person who performs the platform work is an employee. The digital platform can hereafter challenge the presumption if the company doesn’t think that the worker qualifies as an employee.

The proposal about the new rules also takes into account that digital platforms make it possible to perform work in other countries where the company is established. According to the rules, the platform work must be governed by the rules of the country where the work is performed – and not where the company is established or where the customers receive the service. The rules will mean that digital platforms, who are considered to be employers, will in the future be required to report the work and share relevant data with the authorities etc., in the country where the work is performed.

IUNO’s opinion

In Denmark, the Danish government has already submitted a political proposal introducing the same presumption rule relating to platform workers, as that the EU Commission proposes. Although it remains unclear when the new rules can become reality, it appears that the Danish government agrees with the EU Commission’s proposed changes. These new rules would play an important role as many companies could end up in a situation where they could become employers in several countries. At the same time, this would trigger a range of rights for the platform workers.

IUNO recommends that companies are aware that there is a focus on regulating platform work, both in Denmark and within the EU. In relation hereto, companies should make note that the EU directive on working conditions will be implemented in Denmark already this year. The new rules also focus on improving working conditions, namely for those who work within new and innovative types of employment.

[Directive of the European Parliament and of the council on improving working conditions in platform work of 9 December 2021]

The proposal for the new EU rules is at a very early stage of the legislative process and it is unclear what exactly the rules will look like once implemented. However, the proposal for the new rules gives an overall insight into how platform work can be regulated in the future and what companies can expect.

The overall purpose of the rules is to improve working conditions and rights for those who perform platform work, and simultaneously to support the conditions for development of digital platforms in the EU.

Presumption that the platform worker is an employee

First and foremost, the purpose of the proposal is to classify those who perform platform work correctly, as either employees or self-employed.

Whether someone is categorized as an employee or self-employed should, going forward, depend on the conditions of the work. How a contract, if any, describes the relationship between the platform worker and the digital platform will therefore not play any role. Instead, it will be decisive if the digital platform controls the performance of the work.

The performance of the work is controlled if the digital platform:

  • Determines or sets upper limits for the level of remuneration
  • Has rules in place relating to e.g., appearance, conduct towards the recipient or performance of the work
  • Supervises the performance of the work or verifies the quality of the results
  • Has rules for the organization of the work (e.g., in relation to working hours, absence or right to accept or refuse tasks)
  • Restricts the worker’s possibility to build a client base or to perform work for any third party

If the digital platform fulfills just two of these requirements, there is a presumption that the person who performs the platform work is an employee. The digital platform can hereafter challenge the presumption if the company doesn’t think that the worker qualifies as an employee.

The proposal about the new rules also takes into account that digital platforms make it possible to perform work in other countries where the company is established. According to the rules, the platform work must be governed by the rules of the country where the work is performed – and not where the company is established or where the customers receive the service. The rules will mean that digital platforms, who are considered to be employers, will in the future be required to report the work and share relevant data with the authorities etc., in the country where the work is performed.

IUNO’s opinion

In Denmark, the Danish government has already submitted a political proposal introducing the same presumption rule relating to platform workers, as that the EU Commission proposes. Although it remains unclear when the new rules can become reality, it appears that the Danish government agrees with the EU Commission’s proposed changes. These new rules would play an important role as many companies could end up in a situation where they could become employers in several countries. At the same time, this would trigger a range of rights for the platform workers.

IUNO recommends that companies are aware that there is a focus on regulating platform work, both in Denmark and within the EU. In relation hereto, companies should make note that the EU directive on working conditions will be implemented in Denmark already this year. The new rules also focus on improving working conditions, namely for those who work within new and innovative types of employment.

[Directive of the European Parliament and of the council on improving working conditions in platform work of 9 December 2021]

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