EU Science Hub

European legal framework for “digital labour platforms”

Abstract: 
This report maps a kaleidoscopic array of platform-mediated working arrangements, by clustering the findings into three main subsets (passenger transport services, professional crowdsourcing, on-demand work at the client’s premises). Many initiatives taken by the European institutions and aimed at promoting decent work in the collaborative economy are analysed including (i) the European Commission’s Communication 356/2016, (ii) the principles enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights, and (iii) the ruling by the European Court of Justice on the nature of the service provided by Uber. After exploring the existing legal framework in several European countries, this study goes into the issue of the legal status of platform–based or –mediated workers by analysing what is at stake in pending litigations on the proper classification. In the end, this report is meant to contrast the sense that new realities of work have outgrown legal concepts. The application of existing regulation must be reinforced, in order to avoid the risk that platform workers are considered by default as falling in a normative vacuum. In the end, creating a level playing field between the traditional and the digitally-enabled companies is the only way to reap full benefits of the on-going digital transformation.