Non-standard employment and platform cooperatives in the digital transformation of industry (own-initiative opinion) - Related links

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This report explores three issues related to the growing phenomenon of Digital Labour Platforms: firstly, how to measure platform work as a form of employment incorporating elements such as regularity of provision, time allocated and income generated; on this basis, and drawing on a new dedicated survey (COLLEEM), the article quantifies and categorises platform work into sporadic, secondary and main. Secondly, it provides an empirical investigation of the association between individual characteristics, such as gender, age, family composition, education and motivation, and the probability of carrying out particular types of platform work, such as microtasking, creative services, software development, transportation and so on. The analysis highlights substantial heterogeneity in the attributes and motivations of the workers performing different tasks. Finally, it discusses the employment status of platform workers and provides some descriptive statistics suggesting that a large share of platform workers perceive themselves as employees, even though they are in most cases legally considered self-employed.

The need of combining activation and social protection policies is especially challenging when dealing with Non-Standard Work (NSW) as this entails accessibility, transferability and transparency issues. To the best of our knowledge there is no in-depth European multi-country study on the subjects’ attitudes and perceptions on social protection specifically for NSW. Thus, the objective of this study is to gather evidence in support of the European Commission initiative aiming at providing adequate social protection regardless the type of employment contract, in particular on: a) people currently and prospectively on non-standard employment; b) self-employed (with and without employees); c) employers; d) unemployed; e) standard employees.

New forms of organising work, non-standard forms of employment and new forms of self-employment are contributing to the diversity in the labour market across the Member States. They can be observed in the heterogeneity of the forms of employment that are distinct from those based on individual permanent employment contracts, which have dominated employment relationships for decades. Moreover, they influence the time dedicated to work and related income, both of which may be distinct from individual permanent employment contracts. The purpose of this report is to acknowledge this diversity by exploring how this diversity is classified under national social security law and by identifying any resulting problems for social security coordination when non-standard employed and self-employed workers move within the EU.

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This report examines developments in non-standard employment over the last decade. It looks at trends in the main categories of non-standard employment – temporary, temporary agency and part-time work and self-employment – based mainly on data from the European Union Labour Force Survey. It discusses some aspects of the labour market situation of workers in these categories including wages and the extent to which they would prefer a standard employment status. The report includes a specific focus on work mediated by digital platforms, which is the most innovative of the new forms of employment that have emerged in the past decade. Digital platform work is thought to have considerable potential for growth but also to present challenges related to working conditions and social protection. Social protection issues surrounding other new forms of employment, as identified in earlier Eurofound research, are also highlighted.

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