Around the world: regulation of work on digital platforms

The digital economy is transforming work relationships. Check out how debates about regulation are going in different countries.

The digital economy is transforming the world of work. Today, it is very common
use an app to order food, transportation or find a freelancer.
This is the logic of digital platforms, which connect people and companies that
they need a service from professionals who offer it.

Digital platforms are an important pillar of the new economy. They
represent not only a new market but also new earning opportunities
for workers. In 2019, these platforms contributed to a
generating income of US$ 52 billion worldwide – which corresponds to approximately R$
270 billion -, points out the ILO (International Labor Organization).

This type of work became even more relevant with the accelerated
digitalization of society during the Covid-19 pandemic, which increased
also the demand for services such as food delivery, which has become
considered essential. According to the ILO, the number of digital platforms that
offer transportation and delivery services jumped from 142 in 2010 to 777 in
all over the world in 2020.

In this new reality, the spotlight has been focused on the rules
labor. It is no coincidence that the regulation of work on platforms
Digital technologies have been discussed around the world. Different bills
seek to regulate this type of work, as well as create mechanisms for
security and social protection for workers.

In line with the global debate on the topic, iFood is in favor of the discussion
in Brazil on regulations that guarantee worker safety,
minimum earnings and social protection, without compromising their autonomy and freedom of
choice when carrying out the activity through digital platforms.

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The debate is still open in Brazil, which for now does not have a proposal
mature regulation of work on digital platforms. In Congress,
114 bills on the topic were proposed between 2015 and 2020,
according to researchers from CEPI (Center for Teaching and Research in Innovation) of
FGV Direito SP
. In the Judiciary, the Superior Labor Court has judged specific cases
– and highlighted in its decisions that there is a need to make a new
regulations for this type of work.


In February 2021, the UK Supreme Court recognized two
professionals from digital work platforms such as
workers (an intermediate category of the English labor system
which does not exist in Brazil)
. The decision, however, is not a recognition of the bond as it was
exists here. In June, the delivery platform Deliveroo achieved a victory
in the courts, which considered that its workers are self-employed. To the
decisions show that, there, this debate is still ongoing.

California (United States)

Approved by popular vote in November 2020, Proposition 22 defines that,
in California, anyone who works on a digital platform must not be
considered an employee, but rather an independent professional of a
technology. Under the measure, these professionals are entitled to some
benefits, such as minimum income based on time spent on duty. A
proposition overlaps with previous legislation, approved in 2019, which understood
that the workers were employees of the company, therefore they would be entitled to
health insurance, unemployment insurance and other benefits.

European Union

The European Commission has begun debates on the regulation of work in
digital platforms with a public consultation on this topic. Some of
themes that will be discussed by experts and citizens are the conditions of
work (with a focus on health and safety), access to social protection,
collective representation and qualification opportunities and issues
related to the management of platform algorithms.

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