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EU Lawmakers, Countries Agree On A Bill On Gig Workers' Rights

By Reuters
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EU Lawmakers, Countries Agree On A Bill On Gig Workers' Rights

European Union lawmakers have provisionally agreed on a bill aimed at giving workers at online companies such as Uber and Deliveroo employee benefits, which if adopted would be a global first.

The new rules will prevent workers from being wrongfully classified as self-employed, and therefore not eligible for benefits, by introducing 'presumption of employment'.

Meeting two out of five indicators of control, or direction, will trigger the assumption 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 labour and social protection rights,' the European Parliament said in a statement.

Level Playing Field

The rules were originally announced in late 2021, and if adopted will be a global first. They are part of a raft of legislation intended to ensure a level playing field between online and traditional businesses.

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The proposals had been previously criticised by Delivery Platforms Europe, whose members are Bolt, Deliveroo, Delivery Hero, Glovo, Uber, and Wolt.

The rules will also reduce the use of algorithms in decision making, with human oversight required over issues such as the suspension of a worker's account, or dismissal. It will also give gig workers more insight into how algorithms used by online companies work and how their behaviour affects decisions taken by the systems.

Under the new rules, digital platforms will also be unable to trick the system by using employment intermediaries, as workers performing the service via an intermediary will need to benefit from the same level of protection as those employed directly.

The agreed text will now have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council to enter into force.

Elsewhere, the United Kingdom's Supreme Court ruled in November that Deliveroo's riders cannot be represented by a trade union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

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