Digital Law Up(to)date: New European initiative to regulate the relationship between digital platforms and their workers

Digital Law Up(to)date: New European initiative to regulate the rela

Digital Law Up(to)date: New European initiative to regulate the relationship between digital platforms and their workers

24.12.2021 EU law

New European initiative to regulate the relationship between digital platforms and their workers.


In just a few years, digital platforms have become key players in our economy. They affect many legal fields that the European Union wishes to regulate. For example,

  • The proposed Digital Services Act, which is intended to protect consumers from some platforms commercial practices (relation consumer-platform);
  • The proposed Digital Markets Act, which is intended to regulate market access and therefore the relations between these economic players (relation platform-platform);
  • The Digital Single Market Directive (and its article 17) which establishes a liability regime for the uploading of works protected by copyright (relation intellectual property rights holders-platform).

The Commission now also wants to regulate the relationship between platforms and their workers. The question of the qualification of the working relationship is obviously essential in terms of the rights and obligations of both platforms and workers. When we know that today, 28 million people work via digital platforms in the European Union, we understand the need to clarify the rules. 

In short, the main objective of the Commission is to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms by providing a clear and legally secure framework for these workers, and in particular by creating a presumption of employee qualification. By extension, the Commission enables platforms to grow sustainably, aware of their obligations towards their workers.

Three documents were presented on 9 December 2021 by the Commission (and available here): 

  1.  A Proposal for a Directive on improving the working conditions in platform work ; 
  2. A Communication on Better Working Conditions for a Stronger Social Europe: harnessing the full benefits of digitalisation for the future of work; and
  3. Draft Guidelines on the application of EU competition law to self-employed persons in a weak position.

By Edouard Cruysmans and Erik Valgaeren 


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