Gig Workers Could Get More Rights in Europe
Changes Coming for Europe’s Gig Economy
Gig-economy companies from Uber (UBER) to Deliveroo (DROOF) could face sweeping changes related to how their workers are classified in Europe. European legislators are working on new rules which would designate gig workers as employees under certain conditions. For example, if companies determine workers’ pay and evaluate their performances, workers would qualify as employees.
Currently, most gig-economy companies classify their drivers, shoppers, couriers, and other workers as independent contractors. The European Union estimates that there are anywhere from 5 million to 28 million gig-economy workers in the bloc who would be impacted by the change.
It Could Take Time for the Bill to Become Law
The bill will now make the rounds in the European legislature. It could take years of debate before it becomes law. It has to be approved by the EU’s Parliament as well as the EU’s 27 member states. If it passes, countries would have two years to roll out the new rules.
Uber, Deliveroo, and other app companies have long saved money by classifying drivers as contractors, which means they don’t have to pay for benefits or provide healthcare. Butthe pandemic shined a light on how unstable these gig-economy jobs can be, prompting some lawmakers and worker advocates to push for change.
Companies Push Back Against New Rules
Uber, Deliveroo, and other gig-economy companies are against the EU’s proposal. They argue that if they are forced to reclassify their workers they will not be able to hire as many people. Bolt Technology, the ride-sharing and food-delivery platform from Estonia, said it would have to hire full-time drivers and have them work longer hours. The company argues that it will take away one of the main benefits of gig work: flexible schedules.
Despite the opposition on the part of the app companies, regulators around the world are looking at ways to treat workers better. It still remains to be seen if the EU’s proposal will become a reality, and if this could be used as a model for the rest of the world.
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