When gig economy platforms arrived in Europe a decade ago, observers predicted that they would either blow up the welfare state — or get smothered by it.

In many ways, both prophecies have come to pass.

For thousands of Uber drivers, delivery riders, babysitters and other denizens of the “gig economy,” what was originally meant to be a side hustle has turned into a de facto job representing their sole source of income — ushering in a new generation of workers whose jobs are far more precarious than those of their peers in traditional employment. Meanwhile, European countries that uphold their welfare systems with pride are still struggling to figure out how to bring this new type of worker into the fold.

One reason they’re having a hard time is that current labor laws are premised on a binary either-or definition: A worker is either an employee, or they are not.