Progress on Platform Work Directive stalls

26 February 2024 2 min read

By Katie Davies

At a glance

  • The Platform Work Directive (PWD) has had a troubled journey through the European legislative process.
  • Despite the European Council and European Parliament reaching agreement on the final text of the directive, they have failed to obtain support from a sufficient number of Member States.
  • The upcoming EU election process is likely to prevent further progress on the PWD for now.
  • The European Council has announced it is considering ‘next steps‘ but it is unclear what those steps will be.

In an update to our article of 12 January 2024, the provisional agreement between the European Council and European Parliament on the final text of the PWD has fallen through.  Its future may now be in doubt.

The PWD was first proposed by the European Commission in 2021 with the key aim of ensuring the correct employment classification of people performing platform work. It also aims to introduce the first ever EU-rules on algorithmic management and the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace.

However, agreement between the Member States on the key provisions of the PWD has proved to be a stumbling block, particularly in relation to the directive’s intention of introducing a rebuttable presumption of employment status for platform workers (as opposed to a status of self-employment).

The European Parliament and European Council believed that a deal had been struck in December 2023, but that deal then collapsed when 12 Member States refused to agree the terms.  With the arrival of the new Belgian Presidency of the EU Council in January 2024, expectations were raised that new – watered-down – provisions would finally get over the line, and by 8 February 2024 a new provisional deal was announced.  However, on Friday 16 February 2024, the Belgian Presidency announced that insufficient Member States had voted to approve the directive’s provisions and that it would now have to ‘consider the next steps’.

It remains to be seen what those ‘next steps’ will be, particularly in light of the impending EU elections which will almost certainly prevent the directive from progressing any further for now.

Keep track of future developments via our EU Directive tracker.