Brussels seeks to strengthen the rights of precarious workers


More and more workers are operating without an employment contract in Europe. This is especially the case in sharing economy platforms. These types of relationships do not guarantee the worker minimum rights, nor do they adequately specify the obligations of the employee and employer. For this reason, the European Commission intends to impose obligations on this type of contract, in such a way that the schedules, conditions and the maximum trial period are detailed.

There is much talk about the economic recovery in Europe, but beyond the growth data, there is a very important issue to be resolved: job insecurity. We are talking about six million people with irregular jobs and three million people who perform domestic jobs.

To achieve a strong economy and society, quality employment is essential and therefore, workers need to be guaranteed basic labor rights. We found that workers in new collaborative economy companies such as Uber or Airbnb, domestic employees or hourly workers do not have conditions that guarantee minimum stability and security.

From labor flexibility to the social pillar of the European Union

It is true that Europe has emphasized labor flexibility, that is, a regulation that allows workers to be easily hired and fired. But the European Commissioner for Employment, Marianne Thyussen has declared that they will "give more protection" although they will not prohibit this type of relationship between company and worker. Thus, the objective will be to provide greater coverage to the approximately three million people who will benefit from these improvements.

Both in public life and in the relationship between employee and worker, transparency is a key element. The working conditions, the functions performed and the working hours are aspects that must be clearly detailed in the hiring. After years advocating for austerity, now it is intended to strengthen the social pillar, seeking legislation that allows harmonizing minimum rights among the countries that make up the European Union.

Precisely along these lines is a recent ruling by the European Union Court of Justice, which considers Uber a transport company and not a digital platform, which will consolidate the rights of workers who provide services for this type of company.

Improvements in the rights of precarious workers

But returning to the question of transparency, the new contracts must inform about the duration of the service to be provided, the working day, the way in which the employee will be remunerated, the trial period, the training and the salary components. Regarding the trial period, Brussels proposes to leave it in a maximum of six months.

Another important aspect that will be regulated will be the elimination of exclusivity to the worker, that is, the company will not be able to request the worker to provide services exclusively for it. To these obligations must be added the requirement to deliver the information in writing from day one and the right to free training for workers.

As these are jobs considered atypical, the worker will have the possibility of requesting a stable job. The response of the employer or employer must be formulated in writing, either of acceptance or rejection.

It should be remembered that as it is a European Directive, member states may strengthen or improve workers' rights, but in no case reduce the level of protection established by European legislation.

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