Sun. Feb 21st, 2021
Uber calls for new EU rules to regulate ‘gig economy’ apps

Uber Technologies Inc. today called on European Union officials to implement new rules to regulate “gig economy” platforms such as its ride-hailing and food delivery apps.

The company also published a lengthy paper outlining its positions on the matter.

The move comes as the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, prepares to weigh whether regulatory reforms should be implemented to enhance the working conditions provided by Uber and other gig economy apps. A draft version of the new rules could be ready before year’s end, Reuters reported today.

One of the central topics in the discussion around the gig economy has been how to classify gig economy workers. Uber and tech companies with similar business models, such as Lyft Inc., classify their drivers as independent contractors. There have been legislative efforts aimed at requiring the firms to reclassify their drivers as full-time employees and provide them employment benefits such as overtime pay, paid sick leave and family leave.

“We believe a new approach is possible — one where having access to protections and benefits doesn’t come at the cost of flexibility and of job creation,” Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a blog post today.

In California, voters last year approved a ballot measure called Proposition 22 that allows companies such as Uber to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors but requires them to provide expanded benefits. 

In the EU, new rules are needed to “standardise and improve access to protections and benefits for independent workers,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “This could include helping platform workers pay into existing public social protection schemes. Or it could mean an industry-funded portable benefits fund, allowing platform workers to accrue funds to access the protections and benefits they want.”

The new rules should be implemented in the form of “industry-wide standards that all platform companies must provide for independent workers,” the CEO elaborated. “Critically, whatever the model, there must be an industry level playing field to ensure all independent workers have consistent earnings whichever app they choose to work on.”

The European Commission will reportedly hold a consultation on Feb. 24 to seek feedback from workers and employers’ representatives on gig economy working conditions. The commission will first seek input on whether new rules are needed and then decide the content of the legislation. 

Photo: Unsplash

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