February 25, 2021

The European Commission has issued a “first-stage consultation” with European Union (EU) social partners on the working conditions of people who work through digital labor platforms — including gig economy workers. The consultation, which will last for six weeks until mid-April, follows the commission’s 2020-21 work program announcement that it would publish measures aimed at improving the working conditions of platform workers.

Social partner consultation highlights

  • The commission’s FAQs identify the key challenges associated with the gig economy, including the definition of platform work; employment status; working conditions; access to adequate social protection; access to union representation and bargaining; cross-border dimension of platform work; issues concerning algorithmic management; and access to training and professional opportunities. 
  • The commission has asked the social partners if they agree with the issues highlighted and if they think EU-level action is required; and if so, what rights and obligations should be included in any EU measure. 
  • As part of the consultation, the social partners must confirm if they are willing to dialogue on any of the issues identified in the commission’s consultation, with a view to reaching an agreement. If they don’t agree to dialogue, the commission says it will publish legislative proposals “by the end of the year.” 

Related resources

Non-Mercer resources

Mercer Law & Policy resource

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Senior Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Senior Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group


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