Employment terms of platform workers

Digital Programme: Algorithms at the workplace

Policy Study


Data-driven analysis of online platforms in Denmark

The European Commission estimates that around 28 million people in the EU work through one or more digital labour platforms, known as the “gig economy”. There are serious concerns about the working conditions and social rights of people working in the “gig economy”, as many platforms claim that their role is not of traditional employers but as intermediaries between customers and self-employed service providers. This has led many platform companies to compensate workers through remuneration rather than a fixed salary. Some even require workers to establish their own companies to which the salary is then paid.

Administrative data shows an apparent rise in the number of renumerated workers within specific sectors in Denmark. Notably, the transport, information, and communication industries exhibit a significant surge, predominantly comprising young, non-Danish workers with limited educational backgrounds. As part of FEPS and its Nordic partner’s ‘Digital Programme: Algorithms at the workplace‘, this policy study seeks to contribute knowledge about platform companies and the terms of employment for workers engaged through them.

Employing quantitative data sources, this policy study underscores that, even within one of Europe’s most organised labour markets, platform companies are trying to circumvent labour and tax regulations by hiring platform workers through remuneration contracts. This knowledge is crucial for informing the policy discourse at both the European and Danish levels, contributing to the clarification of distinctions between employed and self-employed workers. All workers should be guaranteed basic employment terms, with guaranteed job security such as a labour contract, and the platform applying basic social security and tax regulations to platform workers.

This policy study is part of the Digital Research Programme

FEPS, Tankesmedjan Tiden, Kalevi Sorsa Saatio, Tankesmien Agenda, CEVEA, Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (ECLM), Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nordics and Cooperation Committee of the Nordic Labour Movement (SAMAK), with the support of Nordic trade Unions, came together for a Digital Research Programme to discuss the research questions, methods and approaches of the different research strands:

  1. Algorithmic management and governance (prevalence & consequences)
  2. Workers’ experience at the workplace – surveys and focus groups
  3. Online platforms and employment terms
Economic Council of the Labour Movement (ECLM)
Kalevi Sorsa Foundation
Tankesmedja Tiden
Tankesmien Agenda
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