How the 'gig economy' is changing the world of work

In partnership with The European Commission
How the 'gig economy' is changing the world of work
Copyright euronews
By Naomi LloydFanny Gauret
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What's at stake with digital work platforms - like food delivery apps? They are transforming how we buy goods and services - but how do we ensure workers are treated fairly?

What is Platform Work?

Platform work is an employment model where individuals provide specific services organised through a digital platform that connects them with clients.

This can be a location-based app - allocating jobs such as food delivery, taxi or plumbing services, or web-based platforms - outsourcing work like translation or graphic design.

Platform work has increased five-fold in the last decade.

What’s the Gig Economy?

Platform work is also known as 'the gig economy' as workers are paid by the ‘gig’ or task rather than by the hour.

Is Platform Work a good thing?

The platforms are creating new job opportunities, across borders, allowing workers to work from any place, at any time that suits them. During the pandemic platform work has provided opportunities for people who have lost their jobs.

Businesses are able to access labour on-demand, around the clock, to access services and perform tasks.

So what’s the issue?

There are challenges to ensure good working conditions, fair payment and that the algorithms treat workers fairly.

With such a new model of work, most governments have not yet caught up with relevant legislation. One important question is whether or not workers should be considered as employees with full social benefits.

What’s in the pipeline?

The EU has launched a public consultation on the rights of platform workers inviting trade unions and employers' organisations to find agreement.

If they can’t, the Commission will draw up legislation by the end of 2021.

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