Last reviewed 25 April 2019

Members of the European Parliament have approved a new directive setting out minimum rights for workers with gig economy jobs such as those offered by Uber or Deliveroo.

The proposed directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union has already been agreed with EU Member States.

It grants a set of minimum rights for those in casual or short-term employment, on-demand workers, intermittent workers, voucher-based workers, platform workers, as well as paid trainees and apprentices if they work a minimum of three hours per week and 12 hours per four weeks on average.

It does not apply to "genuinely self-employed" workers.

Better protection for new forms of employment

The specific set of rights to cover new forms of employment includes:

  • Workers with on-demand contracts or similar forms of employment should benefit from a minimum level of predictability, such as predetermined reference hours and reference days.

  • They should also be able to refuse, without consequences, an assignment outside predetermined hours or be compensated if the assignment was not cancelled in time.

  • Member States must adopt measures to prevent abusive practices, such as limits to the use and duration of the contract.

  • The employer should not prohibit, penalise or hinder workers from taking jobs with other companies if this falls outside the work schedule established with that employer.

  • Probationary periods will be no longer than six months or proportionate to the expected duration of the contract in the case of fixed-term employment. A renewed contract for the same function will not result in a new probationary period.

  • Employers will provide mandatory training, which will count as working time and will not be subject to a charge. When possible, such training should be completed within working hours.

The new legislation will be published in the next few weeks in the EU’s Official Journal and Member States will have up to three years to implement its requirements in national law.

Comment by Croner Associate Director Paul Holcroft

It still remains unclear what the future relationship will be between the UK and EU post Brexit.

Despite this, employers should note that these new provisions will need to be adapted into UK law if it is still a Member State of the EU three years after they are introduced.

It should also be remembered that the UK has already announced reforms to the gig economy as part of the Good Work Plan, some of which are set to be introduced from next year.

It is therefore important that employers are fully up to date on the rights and entitlements for operators within the gig economy and are prepared to make key changes to their organisations if necessary.