Labour Law

  • Marco Inglese


The collaborative economy not only blurs the distinction between a consumer and a professional but also the most classical dichotomy between an employer and an employee, hence rarefying the impact of labour law over workers’ protection. Indeed, if one works in his/her own spare time, with no subordination whatsoever, on a casual or an on-demand basis, how can this pattern possibly fit within the frame of genuine employment relations? Furthermore, can online platforms be assimilated to a classical employer exercising a typical command and control chain over their employees? This Chapter seeks to answer these questions, starting from the premise that non-standard work is more and more widespread, while, in a collaborative economy scenario, the problem of false self-employment is more and more acute. Thus, it is argued that, by using rate-and-review (R&R) mechanisms, collaborative platforms have succeeded in externalizing command and control to users. Looking at European Union (EU) labour law, the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) is first discussed, then the potential applicability of the Working Time Directive and of the Atypical Workers Directives is tested. An overview of national experiences in the UK, France and Italy is presented to demonstrate that domestic courts have a different understanding of the conditions pointing to genuine employment relations. Finally, the recently adopted European Social Pillar (ESP) is discussed to ascertain whether it can bring clarity to the broad domain of employment in the collaborative economy.


EU labour law Workers’ social rights Self-employment Charter of Fundamental Rights European Social Pillar 


  1. Aloisi A (2016) Commoditized workers: case study research on labor law issues arising from a set of ‘on-demand/gig economy’ platforms. Comp Labor Law Policy J 37(3):653–690Google Scholar
  2. Aranguiz A, Bednarowicz B (2018) Adapt or perish: recent developments on social protection in the EU under a gig deal of pressure. Eur Labour Law J 9(4):329–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnard C (2012) EU employment law, 4th edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell M (2012) Between flexicurity and fundamental social rights: the EU directives on atypical work. Eur Law Rev 37(1):31–48Google Scholar
  5. Biasi M (2018) L’inquadramento giuridico dei riders alla prova della giurisprudenza. Lavoro, diritti, Europa 2(2):1–16Google Scholar
  6. Cauffman C (2016) The Commission’s European agenda for the collaborative economy – (too) platform and service provider friendly? J Eur Consum Market Law 5(6):235–243Google Scholar
  7. Codagnone C, Abadie F, Biagi F (2016) The future of work in the ‘sharing economy’. Market efficiency and equitable opportunities or unfair precarisation? JRC Science for Policy Report EUR27913, pp 1–96Google Scholar
  8. Das Acevedo D (2015) Regulating employment relations in the sharing economy. Empl Rights Employ Policy J 20(1):1–36Google Scholar
  9. Daskalova V (2018) Regulating the new self-employed in the Uber economy: what role for EU competition law? German Law J 19(3):461–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Franceschi A (2018) Uber Spain and the ‘identity crisis’ of online platforms. J Eur Consum Market Law 7(1):1–4Google Scholar
  11. De Stefano V (2016a) Crowdsourcing, the gig economy and the law. Comp Labor Law Policy J 37(2):461–470Google Scholar
  12. De Stefano V (2016b) The rise of the ‘just-in-time workforce’: on-demand work, crowdwork, and labor protection in the ‘gig economy. Comp Labor Law Policy J 36(2):471–503Google Scholar
  13. Delfino M (2018) Work in the age of collaborative platforms between innovation and tradition. Eur Labour Law J 9(4):346–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Domurath I (2018) Platforms as contract parties: Uber and beyond. Maastricht J Eur Comp Law 25(5):565–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Donini A (2015) Mercato del lavoro sul web: regole e opportunità. Diritto delle relazioni industriali 25(2):433–458Google Scholar
  16. Donini A (2016) Il lavoro su piattaforma digitale “prende forma” tra autonomia e subordinazione. Nuove regole per nuovi lavori? Diritto delle relazioni industriali 36(1):164–177Google Scholar
  17. Donini A (2018a) Lavoro agile e su piattaforma digitale tra autonomia e subordinazione. Variazioni su temi di diritto del lavoro 3(3):823–841Google Scholar
  18. Donini A (2018b) La libertà del lavoro sulle piattaforme digitali. Rivista italiana di diritto del lavoro 36(2):63–71Google Scholar
  19. Ewing KD (2013) Myth and reality of the right to strike as a ‘fundamental labour right’. Int J Comp Labour Law Indus Relat 2013(2):145–166Google Scholar
  20. Forde C, Stuart M, Joice S, Oliver L, Valizade D, Alberti G, Hardy K, Trappmann V, Umney C, Carson C (2017) The social protection of workers in the platform economy. IP/A/EMPL/2016-11 PE614.184, pp 1–125Google Scholar
  21. Giubboni S (2018a) Freedom to conduct a business and labour law. Eur Constit Law Rev 14(1):172–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Giubboni S (2018b) The rise and fall of EU labour law. Eur Law J 24(1):7–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grosheide E, Barenberg M (2016) Minimum fees for the self-employed: a European response to the ‘uber-ized’ economy? Columbia J Eur Law 22(2):193–236Google Scholar
  24. Hatzopoulos V (2013) The Court’s approach to services (2006–2012): from case law to case load? Common Market Law Rev 50(2):459–501Google Scholar
  25. Hatzopoulos V (2018) The collaborative economy and EU law. Hart Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Hatzopoulos V, Do TH (2006) The case law of the ECJ concerning the free provision of services: 2000-2005. Common Market Law Rev 43(4):923–991Google Scholar
  27. Kullmann M (2018) Platform work, algorithmic decision-making and EU gender equality law. Int J Comp Labour Indus Relat 34(1):1–22Google Scholar
  28. La Hovary C (2014) The informal economy and the ILO: a legal perspective. Int J Comp Labour Indus Relat 30(4):391–412Google Scholar
  29. Laagland F (2018) Member States’ sovereignty in the socio-economic field: fact or fiction? The clash between the European business freedoms and the national level of workers’ protection. Eur Labour Law J 9(1):50–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lazzari C (2018) Gig economy e tutela della salute e sicurezza sul lavoro. Prime considerazioni a partire dal caso Foodora. Rivista del diritto della sicurezza sociale 18(3):455–487Google Scholar
  31. Leong N, Belzer A (2017) The new public accommodations: race discrimination in the platform economy. Georgetown Law J 105:1271–1322Google Scholar
  32. Lobel O (2017) The gig economy & the future of employment and labor law. Univ San Francisco Law Rev. 5(1):51–73Google Scholar
  33. Nowak T (2018) The turbulent life of the working time directive. Maastricht J Eur Comp Law 25(1):118–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Organizsation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) (2016) New forms of work in the digital economy. OECD digital economy papers no. 260Google Scholar
  35. Peers S (2013) Equal treatment of atypical workers: a new frontier of EU law? Yearb Eur Law 32(1):30–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Prassl J (2015) Business freedoms and employment rights in the European Union. Camb Yearb Eur Legal Stud 17(1):189–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schepisi C (2017) Piattaforme digitali e caso Uber dinanzi alla Corte di giustizia: servizio di trasporto urbano o servizio della società dell’informazione? Osservatorio europeo – Diritto dell’Unione europea, pp 1–17Google Scholar
  38. Schoukens P, Barrio A (2017) The changing concept of work: when does typical work became atypical? Eur Labour Law J 8(4):306–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Simon P (2017) Uber saisi par le droit du marché intérieur. Revue des affaires europeennes 28(3):521–532Google Scholar
  40. Smorto G (2015) Verso la disciplina giuridica della sharing economy. Mercato Concorrenza Regole 16(2):245–277Google Scholar
  41. Smorto G (2017) Economia della condivisione e antropologia dello scambio. Diritto pubblico comparato ed europeo 18(1):119–168Google Scholar
  42. Sundarajan A (2016) The sharing economy: the end of employment and the rise of crowd-based capitalism. MIT Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  43. Thornquist A (2015) False self-employment and other precarious forms of employment in the ‘grey area’ of the labour market. Int J Comp Labour Law Indus Relat 31(4):411–430Google Scholar
  44. Todolì-Signes A (2017) The end of the subordinate worker? The on-demand economy, the gig economy, and the need for protection for crowdworkers. Int J Comp Labour Law Indus Relat 33(2):241–268Google Scholar
  45. Topo A (2018) Automatic management’, reputazione del lavoratore e tutela della riservatezza. Lavoro e diritto 32(3):453–475Google Scholar
  46. Treu T (2017) Rimedi, tutele e fattispecie: riflessioni a partire dai lavori della gig economy. Lavoro e diritto 31(3–4):367–405Google Scholar
  47. Tullini P (2018) Prime riflessioni dopo la sentenza di Torino sul caso Foodora. Lavoro, diritti, Europa 2(1):1–9Google Scholar
  48. Van Cleynenbreugel P (2017) Le droit de l’Union européenne face à l’économie collaborative. Revue Trimestrielle de Droit Européen 12(4):697–722Google Scholar
  49. Voza R (2018) Nuove sfide per il welfare: la tutela del lavoro nella gig economy. Rivista del diritto della sicurezza sociale 18(4):657–685Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Inglese
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Law, Politics and International StudiesUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly

Personalised recommendations