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Finally clarity for platform workers?

In brief

On 12 June 2023, after lengthy negotiations, the Council of the EU agreed on the proposal for a directive that aims to better protect platform workers. This opens the door to negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the final directive. The directive aims to ensure that platform workers have or can obtain the appropriate employment status through the introduction of a legal presumption. In addition, the directive provides for rules regarding the transparency of the use of algorithms within the platform economy.

The legal presumption

The directive introduces a presumption of law, under which platform workers are presumed to be employees if the relationship between platform and platform worker meets at least three of the following seven limitative criteria:

1. The platform sets upper limits on the worker’s remuneration
2. The platform sets requirements for the worker regarding appearance, conduct towards the recipient of the service or performance of the work
3. The platform monitors the performance of work, including by electronic means
4. The platform effectively limits, including through sanctions, the freedom of the worker to organize their work, regarding the choice of working time
5. The platform limits, including through sanctions, the freedom of the worker to organize their work, regarding accepting or refusing jobs
6. The platform restricts, including through sanctions, the freedom of the worker to organize their work, regarding the use of subcontractors or substitutes
7.  The platform restricts the ability of the worker to build a client base, or to perform work for third parties.

In practice, this may result in many platform workers being classified as employees, unless proven otherwise under the rules of the applicable national law.

Algorithmic monitoring

In addition to the legal presumption, the directive grants new rights in respect of algorithms. These rights are mainly about transparency for platform workers, who are entitled to understand how jobs are assigned and how the assessment of work is made. It also attaches greater value on the human touch, by giving platform workers the right to a review of an algorithmic decision that affects working conditions or access to the platform.

Impact of the directive

Although the final content has yet to be negotiated with the European Parliament, the directive appears to have a major impact on the platform economy. A platform wishing to make use of self-employed workers will have to be able to refute the legal presumption, by proving that, in practice, work is carried out on the basis of a contract for services. From the outset, this does not seem to be an easy test to pass.

Please contact any one of us if you have any questions about the potential impact of the directive.


Mirjam de Blécourt has been repeatedly recognized by top legal directories as one of the leading labor and employment lawyers in Europe and the Netherlands. She leads Baker McKenzie’s Amsterdam Employment and Pensions Law practice group and is member of the Firm's European Employment Group Steering Committee. Furthermore Mirjam is a former board member of Baker McKenzie's Amsterdam office. Mirjam has always been very active in the diversity and inclusion sphere, both outside and inside Baker McKenzie. She currently serves as chair of the supervisory board for Rutgers (international centre of expertise on (women’s) health and rights). Additionally she serves as senator of VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) in the Dutch Senate. Mirjam joined Baker McKenzie in 1990 and has been a partner since 1999.


Danielle advises multinationals and provides services across the entire spectrum of employment and employee participation law. Danielle has a strong winning track record in the field of employment litigation and won several significant court cases for multinational clients. Most recently, she assisted a multinational in a court case in which the employee submitted a claim to the court of approximately EUR 400,000. The court rejected the claim and in the ruling specifically pointed out the extensive and thorough defense.

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