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EU law to boost workers’ rights in gig economy

Members of European Parliament have agreed for the law to grant minimum rights for workers in the so-called “gig economy”. The new EU rules will provide protection to those who are in casual or short-term employment, on-demand jobs, intermittent workers, voucher-based jobs, platform work, and to paid trainees and apprentices that work a minimum of three hours per week and twelve hours per weeks on average, such as at Uber. The rules have excluded genuinely self-employed workers. Employees in EU member states have a wide range of protections available to them like working hours, minimum breaks and holiday entitlement. However casual employees, who work on multiple non-standard jobs in a flexible or erratic manner, have minimum protection.

  • New rules require transparency: The EU law will require employers to inform all workers from day one as a general principle, about “essential aspects” of their employment. It includes “description of duties, a starting date, the duration, remuneration, standard working day or reference hours for those with unpredictable work schedules”.
  • Protection for new forms of employment: The rules include measures to ensure predictable working conditions, predetermined work hours and days, and compensation for cancelled work. The rules will also put an end to “abusive practices” and prevent employers from stopping a worker from taking up another job outside of working hours.
  • Rules for the probationary period and training: The new rules also require an employer to set proportionate length of probationary period and provide free mandatory training to employees.

Spanish Member of European Parliament (MEP) Enrique Calvet Chambon, from the ALDE liberal group, which is responsible for pushing the new legislation through, said that “all workers who have been in limbo will now be granted minimum rights thanks to this directive.” A similar law has already been introduced at a national level in the UK. The EU member states now have three more years to put the rules into practice.

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