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Open letter on Platform Economy Worker Rights

Read the Freelance Movement, Taxpayers Association of Europe, Związek Przedsiębiorców i Pracodawców / Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers and European Enterprise Alliance joint position on the Platform Worker Rights Directive discussions ongoing between the EU institutions.

Dear Member State Representatives and Members of the European Parliament,

We are writing to you on behalf of Freelance Movement, Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers (ZPP), European Enterprise Alliance and Taxpayers Association of Europe to express our views concerns regarding the proposed mandate on the Platform Work Directive. 

As the digital platform economy continues to grow, reshaping the European labour market, it is crucial that our policies reflect and support this evolution. While the intentions behind the Directive on "improving working conditions in platform work" are commendable, we want to avoid significant risks to the very workforce it aims to protect. 

The new proposed mandate should not threaten self-employment in Europe, nor force freelance workers to go through a presumption process. 

Below are a list of our key issues and recommendations: 

  • A low threshold leads to a mass presumption of employment: The threshold should not be lowered to 2/5 criteria. This would fail to capture the nuances of self-employment, would be too vague and would therefore fail to protect it. We favour a more nuanced approach that respects the diversity of freelance work, and a higher threshold (of 3/7 criteria).

  • Unwanted Employment Relationships for One-Person Companies: The Directive threatens to force countless one-person companies into employment relationships against their will. This shift from an autonomous business model to a more rigid employment structure would severely diminish the flexibility and freedom that is fundamental to why many choose platform work.

  • Voluntary Employment Classification: We propose an amendment allowing workers to choose to 'opt-in' for employee classification. This approach respects individual autonomy and is more suited to the varied nature of platform work.

  • Impeding SMEs' Digitalisation and Market Access: The Directive also poses a substantial barrier to the digitalisation of SMEs. By adding layers of complexity and regulatory hurdles, it inadvertently restricts their ability to use digital tools for client acquisition and service delivery. This restriction could lead to a decrease in SME output and diminish the variety of options available to EU citizens. It is crucial to recognise that many platform workers are, in reality, SMEs or family businesses. This proposed mandate, therefore, risks stripping away a vital channel for these businesses to diversify their consumer base and maintain economic viability. 

The Future of Work and Our Petition: 

Our concerns are rooted in extensive research and dialogue with thousands of gig workers across Europe. The emerging trends highlight the importance of flexibility and choice in modern work arrangements. 

Our petition, which has garnered significant support from thousands of independent workers from around Europe (12,500 have signed the petition to protect freelancing in Europe so far), echoes these sentiments, emphasizing the need for policies that adapt to the evolving landscape of work. Instead of forcing freelancers through a reclassification process, we are asking you to: 

  • Protect our flexibility: Ensure our right to freely choose when to work, without any notice and without any schedules imposed upon us.

  • Protect our independence: Ensure our freedom to select which tasks we choose to accept or reject, without being directed by a boss.

  • Protect our entrepreneurship: Provide certainty to operate as self-employed and to build our business by providing services to different partners, including competing platforms. 

We urge you to take our concerns and recommendations into account as you deliberate on possible amendments to the Directive. We remain committed to collaborating towards policies that support the rights and aspirations of all workers, while promoting innovation and economic growth. 

Thank you for your attention on this critical matter.


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