Anticipating and managing the impact of change

Initiatives to improve conditions for platform workers: Aims, methods, strengths and weaknesses

Policy brief
Published
2 desember 2021
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Author(s): 
Mandl, Irene

Key findings

  • Initiatives to support platform workers have better visibility and access to resources when embedded in wider strategies such as national digitalisation policies. At the same time, designing these initiatives so that they achieve adequate protection for workers without hindering innovation and technological progress is essential.
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  • Initiatives to support platform workers have better visibility and access to resources when embedded in wider strategies such as national digitalisation policies. At the same time, designing these initiatives so that they achieve adequate protection for workers without hindering innovation and technological progress is essential.
  • To ensure the effectiveness and enforceability of legal initiatives, clarity on the definitions of platform work and platforms is an important precondition, as is clarity on the scope of legislation. It is also critical to create a broad framework that covers all platform work while encouraging more tailored approaches to individual types of platform work and platform workers, including vulnerable self-employed.
  • Broader strategies and individual initiatives to improve conditions for platform workers can benefit from closer cooperation between different stakeholders. In particular, joint activities by established trade unions and grassroots organisations can draw on the strengths of both to improve effectiveness.
  • Initiatives to improve the working conditions of platform workers are unevenly distributed across the EU, with few in eastern Europe. Social media have proven to be a useful tool to increase their dissemination, and it will be important to highlight the positive role of sharing experiences in the use of social media through existing or new tools for capacity building and exchange of good practices among the different actors and across the Member States.
  • The social protection of platform workers is a priority, especially for those for whom it is their main job or who combine it with other precarious employment. It is crucial to ensure that these workers are informed of their eligibility for benefits and that the process for accessing services is straightforward.
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Abstract

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, ecRead more

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, economic growth and competitiveness in the EU, it has been criticised from the beginning because of the poor employment and working conditions often experienced by workers. Accordingly, across the EU, governments, social partners, grassroots organisations and platforms have started to introduce initiatives to tackle the negative aspects of platform work. This policy brief assesses some such initiatives in the Member States and offers recommendations for further action.

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Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.

Part of the series

  • New forms of employment

    This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.

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