Platform Workers Directive vs. freelance platforms

August 18, 2023

This is big: The EU is proposing a new legislation called the Platform Workers Directive, which could compel some freelance platforms to reclassify gig workers as employees if they fail to treat them as genuinely independent professionals.

According to The Freelance Informer, which cites Osborne Clarke, this will be judged by several criteria:

  • Supervising the performance of workers through electronic means
  • Restricting their ability to choose their working hours
  • Restricting their tasks
  • Preventing them from working for third parties
  • Setting an upper limit on pay
  • Setting rules on their appearance or conduct
  • Restricting their ability to use subcontractors or substitutes

The proposed regulation also delves into other facets of platform work, like the application of automation and algorithms for evaluating individuals, their performance, visibility, and more.

Our take: We recognize that the gig economy (primarily platform-based and digital) and the freelance economy (consisting of more or less independent individuals, mostly outside online platforms) are not the same thing and only overlap each other. The new legislation actually tries to make the same distinction, which is a good thing.

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