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EU Takes On 'Gig Economy'

FILE: In this Jan.26 2016 photo, striking taxi drivers demonstrate in Paris against what they consider unfair competition from rival services such as Uber. The European Union's top court ruled Dec.20 2017 that Uber can be regulated like a taxi company, changing how it functions.

BRUSSELS — The 27 E.U. member states on Monday backed plans that could force companies like Uber and Deliveroo to treat workers as employees in a potential radical overhaul of the gig economy's business model.

Currently, the E.U. has 28 million platform workers.

The bloc has previously said that if the legislation is passed, it would help reclassify five million platform workers in the 27 member states as fully-fledged employees.

Under the council's plans, workers will have to meet at least three of the EU's seven criteria for re-designation, forcing many companies to offer them protections under labor laws. The initial proposal said at least two of five criteria had to be met.

The new rules also demand greater transparency in how the platforms use algorithms to monitor workers and make decisions.

"The council's approach strikes a good balance between protecting workers and providing legal certainty for the platforms that employ them," Paulina Brandberg, Swedish Minister for Gender Equality and Working Life, said in a statement.

The European Commission first proposed the overhaul in December 2021 but it has come under fierce criticism from affected services.

Delivery Platform Europe, which represents Uber Eats and Deliveroo among others, remained unhappy with the draft legislation and hoped talks would lead to more changes.

"While the text approved today brings more clarity than the original proposal, it still fails to draw a clear enough line between employment and self-employment and it does little to enhance the situation of the genuinely self-employed," it said.