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Commission issues proposal to improve working conditions in platform work

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 9.12.2021 16.30 | Published in English on 14.12.2021 at 12.59
Press release
The image shows EU flags in front of the European Commission building.
Image: European Commission 

On 9 December 2021, the European Commission published a proposed directive on improving working conditions in platform work. The proposal contains provisions on the determination of employment status of people working through digital platforms as well as other requirements. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will assess the relationship between the proposals and Finnish legislation.

Platform work refers to work that companies provide to workers or self-employed persons via digital platforms. The platforms can be used to offer customers transport of food and goods or other services via the Internet.

Workers presumed to be in an employment relationship

The aim of the Commission is to ensure that those working through platforms can enjoy the rights and social benefits of workers. The proposed directive lists criteria based on which it would be determined whether platform work is presumed to take place in an employment relationship. If at least two of the five criteria were met, those working through a platform would be presumed to be in an employment relationship (so-called presumption of employment relationship). Were that the case, the workers would be entitled to the related rights and benefits, such as paid holiday and sickness benefits. Platform companies would have the right to contest or rebut the presumed employer status in a legal or administrative process. It would also be possible for the person performing the work to request that the nature of the legal relationship be assessed.

No presumption of employment relationship is in use in Finland. Instead, the existence of an employment relationship is determined based on the mandatory characteristics of an employment relationship laid down in the Employment Contracts Act. 

The Commission also proposes new rights for workers and self-employed persons in situations where automated systems of algorithmic management are used to assist in or replace supervisory work. The directive would ensure that a human would monitor compliance with the agreed working conditions. In addition, the person performing the work would have the right to contest automated decisions. 

The proposal for a directive also includes proposals relating to enforcement, transparency and traceability of the rules.

In addition, the Commission has launched a public consultation on draft guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements of sole entrepreneurs offering the services. The consultation will end on 24 February 2022. The guidelines aim to bring legal certainty and make sure that competition law does not prevent certain sole entrepreneurs from concluding collective agreements to improve their working conditions.

Finland to assess Commission proposal 

“I am pleased that the EU is trying to find solutions to clarify the status of platform workers. We welcome this proposal and will now assess it from Finland’s perspective,” Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen said.

The Government will form Finland’s position on the proposed directive together with Parliament and after consulting labour market organisations.

A working group of the Council of the European Union formed of the representatives of the Member States will discuss the proposal, after which the EU ministers of employment will make a decision on it. The European Parliament will also form a position on the proposal. Finally, the views of the Council and the European Parliament will be reconciled in the so-called codecision procedure. Once the proposal has been adopted, the Member States will have two years to transpose the directive into their national legislation.

Piritta Jokelainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 353 
Elli Nieminen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 247
Liisa Heinonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 064 131 
Virve Haapajärvi, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 027 (proposal for guidelines on the application of EU competition law)

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