New EU Law Establishes Minimum Rights for ‘Gig Economy’ Workers
The European Parliament has approved new minimum rights for workers in so-called “gig economy” jobs such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders. The law introduces increased transparency, proposes more predictable hours, and demands fair compensation for canceled work.
The ever-increasing gig economy has transformed numerous markets across Europe but has frequently been at the receiving end of criticism due to the “abusive practices” that have been prevalent in the industry.
In response to the increased concerns of those employed in such industries, the European Parliament has approved a new law that aims to fix these injustices. MEPs have approved what are effectively minimum rights for workers with on-demand, voucher-based or platform jobs, like Uber or Deliveroo, in a vote on Tuesday.
According to the European Parliament, the law says that every person who has an employment contract or employment relationship as defined by law, collective agreements or practice in force in each member state should be covered by these new rights. The official announcement noted that the case law of the Court of Justice should also be taken into account. The aforementioned law states that a worker performs services for a certain time for and under the direction of another person in return for remuneration.
That includes on-demand workers, workers in casual or short-time employment, intermittent workers, platform workers, voucher-based workers, paid trainees and apprentices who pass the threshold of working 3 hours per week and 12 hours per 4 weeks on average.
The number of those working in the gig economy increases by the day, but some estimates have shown that at least three million people across the EU fall into this category. Enrique Calvet Chambon, the MEP responsible for seeing the law through, said it was the first EU legislation setting minimum workers’ rights in 20 years.
“All workers who have been in limbo will now be granted minimum rights thanks to this directive… from now on no employer will be able to abuse the flexibility in the labor market,” he said.
All member states that have already approved the plan at the European Council will have three years to enforce the rules in their own domestic laws.
However, the UK will only be obliged to implement the new law if it is still a member state of the EU three years after the legislation enters into force. If the country leaves the EU in the meantime, the law would not be applied to its citizens.
The country has already passed similar legislation at a national level in 2018, so its citizens will enjoy a certain level of protection even if the UK leaves the bloc.
(Banner image: Sam Saunders/Wikimedia Commons)