An EU proposal for making it easier to secure the legal protection of gig workers could pave the way for the proposed legal changes in the United States.
It may seem unlikely given that U.S. workers don’t usually have the choice of signing up for what’s now known as “gig economy” arrangements. But in the proposed EU rules, the “gig economy” is treated as more of a protected category.
It is among the institutions whose protection rights could get a boost as a result of the EU proposal. Entities that are jointly run and that are exposed to risks from multiple employers would have the same legal status and job-protection safeguards as traditional labor groups, even in the United States.
In Europe, workers like Uber, TripAdvisor and Deliveroo would not be able to do away with payroll taxes by incorporating as workers’ cooperatives. Instead, they would need to register as employees of larger firms, with earnings of at least 25,000 euros a year or 500 hours of work a year determined by authorities.
What if workers join companies’ cooperatives but somehow decide to organize as their own, then they may not be protected anymore. But that could change. If that happens, the source of wage protection might depend on the motivation of the worker.
In the United States, for example, lawyers, retired teachers, members of a synagogue or religious community would tend to have the legal right to sue employers in cases that involves discrimination or intimidation. And a lawmaker might define a “significant” injury as one that could possibly result in a job loss or another job, such as when a worker suffers harassment or is discriminated against when choosing a spouse or even though some relatives work. The law would not be that explicit in the United States.
While legislation on a contentious U.S. presidential issue like immigration or on religious freedom is routinely vetted in parliament, the proposal on these kinds of protections, if finalized, is something that has not happened for the gig economy — a classification that does not only apply to most workers in this new economy.
It was the first time the United States faced the possibility of something so transformative in labor rules — and in the case of Congress, Congressmen John Sweeney and Silvestre Reyes discussed the proposal.
For Gig Workers, Different Rules in EU and U.S.