Notable regulatory decisions across EMEA underscore the importance of contractors and freelancers as part of the overall economy. For companies doing business and engaging workers in these countries, the rules point to more employee-centric powers for flexible workers. This development should merit attention from employers that need to ensure they are treating workers with appropriate pay, benefits, and tax policies.
Specifically, a court in Spain ruled in July of this year that couriers for online food delivery company Deliveroo should be classified as employees, not freelancers. This ruling means that the gig workers in question should be subject to social security, insurance, and wage policies typically associated with employees. The court classified them as employees, citing the lack of autonomy and specific company rules being applied to the workers as reasons why.
In the Netherlands, a court issued a similarly worker-friendly ruling that gives freelancers the right to make collective agreements on minimum income. This ruling goes against the current rule banning collective bargaining that was intended to prevent higher prices for consumers. With many freelancers working below subsistence levels, however, the government plans to implement a minimum wage in 2021. ACM, the Dutch government organization responsible for enforcement, subsequently announced it would not act against collective agreements by freelancers leading up to that 2021 date.
Takeaway: Companies engaging flexible workers, either directly or through agencies or contractors, will experience an increasing burden of responsibility to ensure that workers who act as traditional employees are treated with the same opportunities and accommodations as employees. Across the EMEA region, a focused resource management capability can help employers gain a clear picture of their contractors, freelancers, and contingent workers – a critical factor in staying ahead of changing regulations.
This update contains general information only, and AGS is not rendering legal advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult qualified legal counsel. AGS shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person or company who relies on this update.