Brussels plans to regularise so-called false self-employed

Brussels plans to regularise so-called false self-employed

The European Commission, on Thursday, December 9, proposed new legislation to regularise the situation of the so-called ‘riders’ (distributors) and all the people who offer their services to platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo, or Glovo.

The purpose of this initiative is to grant these people the status of workers, and all the associated rights: minimum wage (where it exists), collective bargaining, health insurance, and the right to unemployment benefits, among others.

According to Brussels’ calculations, there are currently 500 job platforms in the EU, most of them established at a national level, employing 28 million people. Everything indicates that this is only the beginning, since, according to the same calculations, by 2025 this number will reach 43 million.

However, 55 per cent of these people earn less per hour than the minimum wage in the countries in which they work. Furthermore, it is estimated that these workers spend on average, almost nine hours per week of their time on unpaid tasks.

According to the data considered by the European Commission, 90 per cent of the people who offer their services to these platforms are considered self-employed, and without labour rights. Brussels considers that around five and a half million are actually false self-employed.

With this new regulation, the European Commission believes that the platforms will adjust their business model so that some of these workers become real self-employed. This is seen as a way of reducing labour costs. The European Commission estimates that regularisation will affect between 1.7 million and 4.1 million of these workers.

To distinguish those who are self-employed from those who really are not, Brussels proposes to establish a list of criteria on whether the digital platform exercises control over these service providers. These will establish whether this service provider can be considered a worker within the template.

If in this employment relationship, at least two of the established criteria are met, the platform has the duty to hire this worker, to form part of the workforce, to enjoy the labour rights established by each national legislation.

These criteria include the level of remuneration, the possibility of working for other clients, supervision using electronic tools, the freedom to set working hours, assignments, or choose substitutes, and the obligation to wear uniforms.

This morning’s text stated, “The clear criteria proposed by the Commission will provide platforms with greater legal certainty, reduce litigation costs, and facilitate business planning”.

For this new regulation to be complied with, the European Commission wants national authorities to reinforce inspections. These platforms must then inform each country about their number of employees, and conditions.

Some European countries, such as Spain, have already established a higher level of protection for these workers by law. This latest proposal must meet the approval of the European capitals. The European Parliament also aims to avoid regulatory fragmentation within the European territory, due to to the multiplication of litigation in recent years owing to the rise of this type of collaborative economy, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at