EU to Reclassify Gig Workers as Employees

People who work for digital platform firms will have access to minimum wage and legal protections.

December 06, 2021

Gig worker on a bike

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—A draft European Union plan would reclassify food delivery and ride-hailing app workers as employees, affecting as many as 4.1 million people, according to TIME. Workers for companies like Uber, Deliveroo and Bolt Technology would gain access to minimum-wage and legal protections, and some would receive confirmation they are self-employed.

The proposal could cost the digital platforms up to 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) more a year, the EU estimates. The companies say that if implemented, the plan would result in a large amount of job losses and increased costs for the customer, as the EU executive noted that “consumers may be faced” with part of the platforms’ increased costs.

Any person who works for a digital platform would be able to presume they are an employee of the company despite what they’re called in their project, according to the rules. However, the companies have the legal right to prove that the worker isn’t an employee.

The rules would affect operations that meet two of five criteria: determining pay for workers, setting appearance and conduct standards, supervising the quality of work, restricting the ability to accept or refuse tasks or limiting the ability to build a client base.

Startup delivery companies in the U.S. and Europe that promise speedy grocery delivery use employees instead of gig workers in order to get customers their orders in as little as 10 minutes.