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Positionspapier Bitkom position paper “Preserving flexibility and autonomy in platform work”

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Commenting on the European Commission’s second-phase consultation document under Art. 154 TFEU on possible action addressing the challenges related to working conditions in platform work, Bitkom highlights among others the following:

  • EU-initiatives and measures should take into account the digital transformation in the world of work and the desire of working people for more flexibility.
  • Bitkom strongly opposes the concept of a rebuttable presumption of employment and the proposed shift in the burden of proof in judicial procedures. In our view a rebuttable presumption would not fix the issues related to the misclassification in employment status. It would retain the outdated concepts of employment and self-employment without directly clarifying the employment status itself and thus maintain legal uncertainty. For these reasons the concept does not constitute a sustainable approach. Parties would still need to litigate before a court, which implies lengthy procedures and substantial costs.
  • In addition, Bitkom believes that the policy options set out by the European Commission do not sufficiently address the goal of improving the working conditions of platform workers in particular. The focus of any upcoming proposal should be on tangible measures improving platform work, beyond a facilitated access to litigation.
  • Studies show that for the overwhelming majority of people working through platforms earnings through digital labour platforms represent a supplementary source of income. Bitkom is thus of the view that the employment status should only be subject to measures addressing misclassification if certain stability in the contractual relationship of the digital labour platform and the person working through the platform exists.
  • New rights for platform workers with respect to algorithmic management should be introduced by way of self-regulatory commitments. They may include i.a. rules on explaining in a clear and understandable language the effects of algorithmic management as well as providing an internal complaint handling system and access to neutral out of court settlement for disputes through a mediator.
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