European Commission seeks greater protection for gig economy workers in the EU

Gig Economy


The European Commission has announced plans to ensure access to greater social protection for all workers and the self-employed as part of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The proposal for a Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed is the Commission’s response to the growth of new business practices and digitisation, such as the rise of the so-called gig economy.

The Commission says almost 40% of people employed are either in an atypical employment situation – meaning that they are not working under a full-time, open-ended contract – or they are self-employed. Many lack unemployment protection, access to pension rights or to maternity leave.

The Recommendation aims to ensure workers and the self employed can build up and claim adequate entitlements to social benefits, to facilitate the transfer of social security entitlements from one job to the next and to provide workers and the self-employed with transparent information about their social security entitlements and obligations.

The Commission has also announced plans for the establishment of a European Labour Authority by 2019 which it says will help individuals, businesses and national administrations to get the most out of the opportunities offered by free movement and to ensure fair labour mobility. The Authority will provide information to citizens and business on opportunities for jobs, apprenticeships, mobility schemes, recruitment and training, as well as guidance on their rights and obligations if they live and work in another Member State of the EU. It will also support cooperation between national authorities in cross-border situations by helping them ensure that the EU rules that protect and regulate mobility are easily and effectively followed and it will be able to provide mediation and facilitate solutions in cases of cross-border disputes, for instance, in the event of company restructuring involving several Member States.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: Our work to ensure fair labour mobility culminates in today’s proposal for a European Labour Authority. This is essential for a well-functioning European labour market. It will help citizens and businesses on the move find the right information and strengthen cooperation between the Member States to enforce fair and effective rules. And with our proposal on access to social protection, we are working with Member States to make sure that nobody is left behind. Our aim is to ensure that people have access to adequate benefits no matter how the new world of work evolves.”

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