The European Commission’s proposed directive on improving the conditions of platform work would materially reshape work through digital platforms. The new instrument addresses three main concerns: worker-status misclassification; fairness, transparency and accountability in algorithmic management; and enforcement of the applicable rules.

Contrary to national legislative initiatives addressing only segments of the broader phenomenon (such as the ‘riders’ law’ in Spain), this directive potentially applies to all platform workers, including food-delivery riders and drivers of ride-hailing platforms but also domestic workers whose work is channelled via applications and, crucially, individuals who work for exclusively online platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and Upwork. Article 2 specifies that the directive would apply to all forms of digitally-mediated platform work, ‘irrespective of whether that work is performed online or in a certain location’.

The proposal would also have broad personal scope—other EU instruments have been prone to exclude platform workers with ambiguous status. The text embraces all persons who ‘have, or who based on an assessment of facts may be deemed to have, an employment contract or employment relationship as defined by the law, collective agreements or practice in force in the Member States, with consideration to the case-law of the C[ourt of ] J[ustice of the] EU’. The goal is thus to include situations where the employment status of the person performing platform work is not clear, so those workers can enjoy the safeguards enshrined in the directive.