Are labour market regulations fitfor purpose?

Online labour platforms and the gig economy have recently attracted much attention from policymakers, researchers and business, mostly due to the impact they have on the way work is organised in society. Platform work includes a heterogeneous set of activities, many of which circumvent existing labour market regulation. Some observers have thus concluded that the laissez-faire situation of platform workers is ‘reminiscentof 19th century labour relations’ (Fabo et al. 2017: 170). For instance, by matching labour supply and demand even for micro-transactions, online labour platforms facilitate a shift from accessing labour through employment towards relying on self-employment (Drahokoupil and Piasna 2018). Moreover, incomes are notoriously low. Figure 2.15 presents data from a case study of Deliveroo riders in Belgium. It shows very low levels of income, with an average of €249 gross monthly earnings, and hourly rates hovering around the minimum wage in Belgium. In addition to very low hourly earnings, the problem, as shown in Figure 2.16, is also a lack of availability of work (for detailed results see Drahokoupil and Piasna 2019).While most workers appear to use platforms to top up the irregular income, a sizable minority, possibly exceeding a million workers in the EU, rely on platforms as their main source of income (cf. Huws et al. 2016; Balaram et al. 2017).

more information in Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 - Chapter 2 Labour market and social developments