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Platform work

Ved platformsarbejde anvendes en platform, der gør, at organisationer eller enkeltpersoner kan få adgang til andre organisationer eller enkeltpersoner for at løse specifikke problemer eller tilbyde specifikke tjenesteydelser mod betaling. Større arbejdsopgaver inddeles i uafhængige mindre opgaver, som udføres af platformsarbejdere på anmodning, hvilket gør at arbejdet spredes ud.

Topic

Recent updates

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Regulatory responses to algorithmic management in the EU

Since 2013, Eurofound's ERM database on restructuring-related legislation has been documenting regulatory developments in the Member States of the European Union and Norway. The most recent update to the database...

Article
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There is no one future of work for all jobs – policymakers will have their work cut out to ensure that remote and platform working, artificial intelligence and climate change...

Blog
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From January to June 2024, Eurofound supports the work of Belgium's presidency of the Council of the EU, providing valuable research results on specific topics linked with the presidency priorities.

Web page

EU context

Infografik

Across the EU, many different terms are used to refer to platform-based activity. For example, the European Commission and Parliament often refer to the ‘sharing economy’ or ‘collaborative economy’. However, these terms comprise a broader scope of online activities, going beyond paid work to encompass the trade of material or capital goods as well as non-commercial activities. 

In June 2016, the Commission adopted its European Agenda for the Collaborative Economy, clarifying the concept of platform work and providing guidance on the employment status of platform workers. The European Pillar of Social Rights, officially proclaimed in November 2017, aims to address some of the policy challenges associated with new forms of employment, including platform work. As part of the Pillar’s roll-out initiatives, in June 2019 the European Parliament and Council announced the new Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions, which also covers platform work. In November 2019, the Council also adopted the Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed, including reference to platform workers. 

New EU regulations on platform-to-business relations entered into force in July 2019. The new rules aim to create a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders when using online platforms. The EU also set up a dedicated Online Platform Observatory to monitor the evolution of the market and the effective implementation of these rules.

In its January 2020 Communication on building a strong social Europe for just transitions, the Commission highlights the need for improved working conditions of platform works for the sustainable growth of the platform economy. This objective is mirrored in the Commission’s work programme 2020, adjusted in May in response to COVID-19. 

Eurofound’s work on platform work links in with the Commission’s 2019–2024 priority on a Europe fit for the digital age. 

European Industrial Relations Dictionary

Policy pointers

  • While small in scale, platform work has been dynamically developing in the last decade and is expected to continue doing so in the future. Extending the knowledge base and generating reliable estimates on an ongoing basis will help to inform policymaking in this area.
  • There is some heterogeneity within platform work. Different types of platform work result in different effects on working conditions and the labour market.
  • High on the present agenda is the employment status of platform workers and their potential misclassification. Employment status is important as it affects workers’ rights and entitlements.
  • Emerging issues that are specific to platform work relate to, for example, labour market opportunities versus employment quality, transparency of algorithmic management and control, fairness and portability of ratings, cross-border aspects, competition law and consumer protection.
  • While it is important to discuss the challenges related to platform work, the opportunities inherent in this employment form and business model should also be acknowledged. Examples refer to the potential contribution of platform work to labour market integration, income generation and fostering entrepreneurial spirit, legalising undeclared work or the development of rural areas. However, little is known about whether these examples can be realised, and potential unintended negative side-effects need to be explored.
  • Measurements should aim to give a broad picture of the fast-growing economy revolving around online platforms. These will investigate the different ramifications of platform work touching on a variety of policy areas, including business competition, tax evasion, data protection and consumer protection. 

Eurofound research

Eurofound research on new forms of employment across the EU identified platform work as one of nine employment forms that are gaining increasing importance since 2000. As platform work continues to grow and diversify, ongoing research looks at the employment and working conditions of selected types of platform work. 

Eurofound Talks podcast: Episode 9 - Platform work

 

Eurofound is also focusing on assessing the effectiveness of policy initiatives to tackle identified challenges related to platform workers’ employment and working conditions. 

Key topics relate to the representation of platform workers, negotiation of working conditions, provision of insurance and social protection or taxation. The Agency will continue to monitor the evolution of the platform economy through its web repository.

Typology of platform work

Eurofound has identified 10 types of platform work that as of 2017 have reached some critical mass in Europe as regards the number of platforms and affiliated active workers. The main differences between these types are in the scale of tasks, the format of service provision (whether the tasks are delivered locally or online), the level of skills required, the process by which client is matched to worker (offer of work versus contest) and the party that determines the work allocation. 

Regularly updated information on the platform economy

An online platform economy repository, compiled by Eurofound, aims to bring together a range of information on this subject. It includes more detail on Eurofound’s typology of platform work, a range of dossiers offering analysis and context on key issues emerging in the platform economy, as well as a range of initiatives aiming to tackle emerging issues. The repository  also provides specific information related to platform work and COVID-19. 

Eurofound has also carried out a mapping of studies measuring the platform economy, which outlines the methods used and their limitations, and discusses the options to address data gaps.

Together with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), it has analysed the motivation of workers to engage in platform work, with a special focus on gender differences.

With a forward-looking approach, Eurofound developed scenarios of how platform work in Europe could look by 2030, and the likely implications on the economy, labour market and society. These ‘potential futures’ indicate the opportunities and risks of the various development pathways and also put forward what policy could do to realise desirable and avoid undesirable futures.

 

Key outputs

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The platform economy is one of those moving targets, which, despite receiving increasing media and policy attention, has proven difficult to regulate. Given the heterogeneity of employment relationships, business models...

Blog
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While 2020 may come to be seen as the year platform work gathered pace and started to go mainstream – thanks in large part to COVID-19 containment measures sparking an...

Blog
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Although standard employment (generally full-time and permanent) remains the dominant employment type across the EU, European labour markets are increasingly characterised by a variety of different forms. These new forms...

15 december 2020
Publication
Research report

Current and ongoing research

Eurofound research on emerging or new forms of employment across the EU identified platform work as one of nine employment forms that are gaining increasing importance since 2000. As platform work continues to grow and diversify, further research looks at the employment and working conditions of selected types of platform work. 

Typology of platform work

Eurofound has identified 10 types of platform work that as of 2017 have reached some critical mass in Europe as regards the number of platforms and affiliated workers. The main differences between these types are in the scale of tasks, the format of service provision (whether the tasks are delivered locally or online), the level of skills required, the process by which client is matched to worker (offer of work versus competition) and the party that determines the work allocation. 

More on the platform economy

An online platform economy repository, compiled by Eurofound, aims to bring together a range of information on this subject. It includes more detail on Eurofound’s typology of platform work, a range of dossiers offering analysis and context on key issues emerging in the platform economy, a database of publications, as well as a range of initiatives aiming to tackle emerging issues. The repository now also provides specific information related to platform work and COVID-19. 

Eurofound has also carried out a mapping of studies measuring the platform economy, which outlines the methods used and their limitations, and discusses the options to address data gaps.

With a forward-looking approach, Eurofound developed scenarios of how platform work in Europe could look by 2030, and the likely implications on the economy, labour market and society. These ‘potential futures’ indicate the opportunities and risks of the various development pathways and also put forward what should be considered to realise desirable and avoid undesirable futures.

 

 

Other ongoing work

Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles. 

Eurofound expert(s)

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Dragoș Adăscăliței is a research officer in the Employment unit at Eurofound. His current research focuses on topics related to the future of work, including the impact of...

Research officer,
Employment research unit
Publications results (15)

The rise of the platform economy during the last decade is one of the main disrupting forces for European labour markets. While standard employment remains the norm, platforms are expanding their reach and diversifying into novel business models. In doing so, they are also attracting an increasing n

16 May 2023

Den teknologiske udvikling tager til i fart som følge af de elektroniske enheders udvidede kapacitet til at lagre, behandle og formidle information digitalt. Digitaliseringen forvandler EU's økonomi og arbejdsmarkeder: Næsten en tredjedel af arbejdspladserne i EU kategoriseres som stærkt

15 December 2021

The rapid rise of the platform economy has led to a marked transformation of European labour markets, and existing regulatory frameworks and voluntary initiatives have yet to catch up. While platform work offers opportunities for workers and employers and potentially contributes to innovation

02 December 2021

Although standard employment (generally full-time and permanent) remains the dominant employment type across the EU, European labour markets are increasingly characterised by a variety of different forms. These new forms of employment involve new formal employment relationships or work patterns

15 December 2020

Platform work– the matching of supply and demand for paid labour through an online platform – is still small in scale but is expected to grow. Accordingly, it is important to anticipate the opportunities and risks related to this business model and employment form. This report explores potential

21 September 2020

What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding the flexibilisation of employment in recent years? Eurofound’s work programme for 2017–2020 set out to document and capture these changes in the world of work. This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe

16 April 2020

Innovation and technological advancement are natural features of developed economies, and they are necessary to maintain and improve sustainable competitiveness in an era of globalisation. However, while most innovation tends to be incremental, some has a disruptive effect on production and service

22 January 2020

Advances in ICT have opened the door to new ways of organising work. We are shifting from a regular, bureaucratic and ‘factory-based’ working time pattern towards a more flexible model of work. Telework and ICT-based mobile work (TICTM) has emerged in this transition, giving workers and employers

16 January 2020

Platform work emerged onto European labour markets about a decade ago. While still small in scale, it is growing and evolving into a variety of forms. Different types of platform work have significantly different effects on the employment and working conditions of the affiliated workers.

23 September 2019

This report examines the issues in relation to ‘work on demand’, a topic that has received considerable attention in the media recently, mainly due to its links with the platform economy. Work on demand is often presented as a ‘win–win situation’: workers get to tailor their work according to their

14 December 2018

Online resources results (4)

Regulatory responses to algorithmic management in the EU

Since 2013, Eurofound's ERM database on restructuring-related legislation has been documenting regulatory developments in the Member States of the European Union and Norway. The most recent update to the database captures new legislation concerning the use of algorithmic management in the employment

In this episode of Eurofound Talks Mary McCaughey speaks with researcher Dragoș Adăscăliței about how platform work has developed over the past two decades, the profile of platform workers in Europe, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the development of platform work, the opportunities and risks

23 september 2022
Podcast
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Coronavirus highlights sick pay void for platform workers

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is starting to have a serious impact on the world economy. The consequences for platform workers are especially severe in light of forced work stoppages due to self-isolation and lack of sick pay in many cases. Recent media coverage shows that platform workers in

Blogs results (9)

There is no one future of work for all jobs – policymakers will have their work cut out to ensure that remote and platform working, artificial intelligence and climate change policies will benefit and not disadvantage workers.

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The dawn of 2022 brought muted optimism to a Europe beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the progress of vaccination programmes worldwide brought hope. Government and EU support during the pandemic had kept unemployment at bay, averting the widescale collapse of businesses. In step wi

19 december 2022
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The platform economy is one of those moving targets, which, despite receiving increasing media and policy attention, has proven difficult to regulate. Given the heterogeneity of employment relationships, business models, types of platform work and cross-border issues, this is not surprising. Yet, in

27 september 2022
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While 2020 may come to be seen as the year platform work gathered pace and started to go mainstream – thanks in large part to COVID-19 containment measures sparking an increase in food and grocery delivery – 2021 could be the year that regulation of platform work is set in motion. The well-known tax

24 februar 2021
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Standard employment is not simply being replaced by non-standard work; employment is becoming more diverse, and policy must accordingly become more tailored. The last decade has seen much public and policy debate on the future of work. Standard employment – permanent, full-time and subject to labour

15 december 2020
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As Europe braces for a winter wave of the Coronavirus, behind the public health indicators that rightly dominate the headlines, a revolution in working life is under way. In early spring, millions of people throughout Europe took their work home and tried to rapidly adjust to the new world in which

12 november 2020
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We hear more and more about the platform economy, with the debate often revolving around the potential long-term implications of its growth on the labour market and the impact on traditional and established businesses and industries.

28 januar 2020
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It feels like every day there are new articles or blog posts about how Uber drivers are exploited, or on the bad working conditions and safety standards for Deliveroo riders. In an era of ‘fake news’ can we trust that these are accurate? They most likely are, and I agree that things are not all rosy

17 oktober 2019
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In the abstract, platform work is the matching of supply and demand for paid work through an online platform. In practice, most people are likely to have encountered it through big online platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo or Amazon Mechanical Turk. This is a new form employment that began to emerge

2 november 2018

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