The European Commission’s legislative initiative on platform workers, due to be presented at the end of this year, is rightly attracting attention. It was heralded by the commission president, Ursula von der Leyen—promising to ‘improve the labour conditions of platform workers’—at the outset of her mandate two years ago. Together with the possible instrument on adequate minimum wages, it is by far the most important social and labour development stemming from this commission.

Many crucial issues need to be tackled by the proposal. These include how to ensure platform workers receive fair, reliable and predictable remuneration, considering their often erratic and unstable working hours. The effective coverage of such workers by existing and tailored health-and-safety standards, their collective labour rights and scrutiny by workers’ representatives and public authorities of the forms of algorithmic management to which they are subject also need to be addressed.

But the fundamental question the commission must deal with is the personal scope of this initiative. Who are the workers who will be covered? This is a crucial concern for all labour legislation but it is vital for an instrument on platform work.