The first of three meetings of a PES Network Working Group (WG) on ‘New Forms of Work’ took place online on 5 May 2020, hosted by the Public Employment Service Austria, AMS.
This first meeting highlighted the growing relevance of new forms of work and in particular ‘platform work’ in the current and future labour market – an aspect which has only been reinforced by the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis. PES have an important role to play in responding to and facilitating such labour market developments.
A key characteristic of platform work is that labour transactions are coordinated via algorithms on a digital platform, which creates a third party between the worker and the employer and can blur the boundaries between employment and self-employment. This in turn can create problems for labour regulations, such as social security provision and health and safety at work.
Inputs to the Working Group discussions highlighted that few PES are currently offering support to those already involved or seeking to get involved in platform work.
Some PES, having recognised the gap in their services, are seeking to expand their offer, but this will depend on platform work being covered by labour law in the first place and how it is regularised through employment contracts and social security provisions.
Participants in the meeting discussed platform work on the basis of the PES Network survey on Platform work from January 2020 and two draft papers prepared for the event. Their discussions identified the need for more knowledge on the operation of platform work and access to training for those involved.
Members of the WG include PES from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden. The outcomes of the first Working Group meeting will be presented to the PES Board members at their meeting in June 2020.