Gig economy: Employment Committee MEPs want to boost workers’ rights

Workers Rights 2018.jpg

World Bank/Gerardo Pesantez Construction workers on the Panama Canal expansion project.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


New rules on minimum rights for workers in on-demand, voucher-based or platform employment, such as Uber or Deliveroo, were approved by the Employment Committee.

Employment Committee MEPs said on Thursday that a person, who for a certain period perform services for and under the direction of another person in return for remuneration, should be covered by these new concrete rights.

This would mean that workers in casual or short-term employment, on-demand workers, intermittent workers, voucher-based workers, platform workers, as well as domestic workers, freelancers, trainees and apprentices, deserve a set of minimum rights, as long as they meet these criteria.

Transparency

According to the approved text, all workers need to be informed from day one of the essential aspects of their contract, such as its duration, notice periods and initial basic salary. MEPs introduced a requirement for employers to provide such information in writing and include details about trainings, bonuses and overtime payments.

New forms of employment

To cover new forms of employment, MEPs focused on refining a specific set of rights and security.

  • Variable working schedules: workers should be informed about guaranteed paid hours and the remuneration for work performed in addition to those guaranteed hours. The deadline by which the employer can cancel a contract, after which the worker is entitled to remuneration, should also be indicated.
  • Predictable working hours: workers under on-demand contracts or similar forms of employment should benefit from a minimum level of stability and predictability and be able to refuse, without consequences, an assignment outside predetermined hours or be remunerated if the assignment was not cancelled in time.
  • More than one job: the employer should not prohibit, sanction or hinder workers from taking jobs with other companies.

Probationary period and training

Probationary periods should be no longer than six months or nine months in the case of managerial positions, to ensure that a renewed contract cannot result in a new probationary period. It should not be possible to extend a probationary period unilaterally, under any circumstances.

MEPs backed the proposal that mandatory training should be provided free of charge by the employer and added the provision that it should be completed within working hours and count as working time.

Quote

Enrique Calvet Chambon (ALDE, ES), the lead MEP, said: “”This is a big step forward to reinforce and enhance the European social model and cohesion for the future.

The time to develop minimum rules on working conditions for European citizens has arrived. These minimum rights matters to the lives of 500 million Europeans; it is a response to their expectations and will contribute to balance flexibility and security.

Social Dialogue is the best way to face the challenges of new forms of employment. We propose to promote it as much as possible. These new forms of employment will now be supported by basic minimum concrete rights at European level. ”

Next steps

The text was adopted with 30 votes to 7 and 11 abstentions. It will be now negotiated by Parliament and Council in order to hammer out the final shape of the rules.

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