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EU Strengthens Gig Workers’ Rights, Limits Use of Algorithm Systems


A man looks at his phone.

The European Union recently reached a deal to strengthen the work status of gig workers at companies like Uber and Deliveroo that employ people over tech platforms. The deal, reached Dec. 13 but still awaiting formal approval, also provides the first EU rules on platforms’ use of algorithm systems to manage HR. We’ve gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Classification as Employees

Gig workers on digital platforms might soon be classified as employees in the EU. The European Council and the European Parliament announced a provisional agreement to clarify the employment of workers who sign up on apps to drive taxis or deliver takeout. The directive, which still needs to be adopted by EU member states, provides guidance on how to determine the employment status of those working for digital platforms.

(The Register)

Presumption of Employment

The new rules will prevent workers from being wrongfully classified as self-employed—and therefore ineligible for benefits—by introducing a presumption of employment. Meeting two out of five indicators of control will trigger the assumption that the worker is employed by the company.

“Currently, at least 5.5 million persons performing platform work may be wrongly classified as self-employed ... and are missing out on important labor and social protection rights,” the European Parliament said in a statement. People reclassified as workers will have the right to a minimum wage, paid vacation, a pension, and unemployment and sickness benefits.

“If you are completely dependent on an algorithm to organize your work, your breaks, the speed with which you have to deliver things, then you are a worker and deserve social rights,” said EU lawmaker Elisabetta Gualmini. However, some digital platforms have said the rules will undermine access to flexible work.

(Reuters, AP and Context)

Rules on Algorithm Management of HR

The new rules will forbid platforms using apps or algorithms to manage human resources from processing certain personal data of workers, such as personal beliefs, private exchanges with colleagues, racial or ethnic origin, migration status, political opinions, or potential trade union activities.

(Dutch News)

Robo-Firing Stopped

Platform workers can no longer be fired automatically by algorithms, according to the new EU rules. Platform workers also will now have to be informed about how their performance is being tracked or ranked by automated systems, said Antonio Aloisi, an assistant professor of European labor law at IE University in Madrid. “People in the platform economy will have digital rights that are going to be stronger than workers in traditional sectors.”

(Wired)

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