New minimum rights for gig economy workers agreed

Amie Doran

May 30 2019

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EU law update: new minimum rights for gig economy workers agreed MEPs have approved minimum rights for workers in the expanding ‘gig economy’. The law aims to protect workers engaged in casual or short-term employment. In line with EU case law, workers who perform services for a certain time, for and under the direction of another person, and in return for remuneration will be covered by the new EU Directive. The stated aim of the new directive is to prevent employers from abusing the increasing flexibility in the labour market. Employment rights extended to more workers This means that workers in casual or short-term employment, on-demand workers, intermittent workers, platform workers (Deliveroo riders for example), as well as paid trainees and apprentices, will be entitled to a set of minimum rights, as long as they meet these criteria and provided they work 3 hours per week and 12 hours every 4 weeks on average. Genuinely self-employed workers are excluded from the new rules. Increased transparency in working terms and conditions Under the law, all workers will need to be informed from day one of their employment as a general principle, and no later than seven days where justified, of the fundamental terms of their employment contract. The terms required are:
  • a description of duties,
  • a starting date,
  • the duration of the contract,
  • remuneration,
  • the standard working day or reference hours for those with unpredictable work schedules.
Better protection for new forms of employment Workers with on-demand contracts or similar forms of employment will benefit from a minimum level of predictability such as predetermined reference hours and reference days. Such workers will be entitled to refuse an assignment outside predetermined hours without penalty or be compensated if the assignment is not cancelled in time. New rules for probationary period and training Probationary periods will be no longer than six months or proportionate to the expected duration of the contract in the case of fixed-term employment. A renewed contract for the same position will not entitle the employer to start a new probationary period. Employers will also be required to provide mandatory training, which will count as working time, free of charge. When possible, such training should be completed within working hours. Next steps The Irish government will have three years to put the rules into practice. While the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2018 goes some way to implementing certain aspects of the new EU law, the EU Directive will extend employment law protections to a greater number of workers and result in yet more compliance obligations for Ireland’s employers. If you have any questions in relation to your legal obligations as an employer, please contact Peninsula’s expert employment law advisors on 1890 252 923 or if you would like one of our advisors to call you back, fill in your details here.          

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