Frouin report, regulating digital work platforms to protect the self-employed

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The Frouin report, issued on 1 December 2020, tackles the issue of regulating digital work platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo, Allocab, Taxify, Just Eat… This is in order to frame the scope of these platforms to protect the self-employed (1). There is also the question of the legal status of these workers on delivery or VTC platforms in particular. The Frouin report, sponsored by the Prime Minister, recommends employing these workers through a wage-carrying company or an activity and employment cooperative (EAC). It also proposes collective bargaining and the establishment of representatives. The ensemble seeks to ensure social rights for these self-employed, now dependent and captive of digital work platforms.

The security third party to protect digital platform workers

Currently, the relationship between digital work platforms and workers is a commercial contract. In this context, the worker simply adheres to the operation of the platform to the creation of his account. However, the Court of Appeal of Paris and the Court of Cassation have recognized to an Uber driver and a bicycle courier that the relationship between them and their platform is more akin to an employment contract and must therefore be treated as such (2). If this is not enough to make it the rule for all, this situation has led the government to find solutions to frame the relationship. All this without seeking to interfere in the quest for autonomy of the independents.

The Frouin report proposes to change drivers and couriers from self-employed to salaried. However, not employees of the platforms but of a wage porting company or an EAC. Thus, they could benefit from the general social security system, claim unemployment insurance. They may also be eligible for partial activity and professional prevention account. All this, while maintaining their autonomy.

On the other hand, the use of a third party would not be mandatory for a one-time or low-paid activity. Similarly, a tax benefit for workers using a third party is also proposed for the Frouin report. The aim is to make this solution more financially attractive than the current independent status.

It should be noted, however, that some companies did not wait for this report to build their model on a healthier social system. This is particularly the case for the delivery company Coursiers Bordelais. In this cooperative enterprise, salaries and working conditions are decided in consultation with all couriers.

Collective bargaining, the Frouin report for workers’ representation

In order to restore power to the self-employed, the Frouin report foresees the establishment of collective bargaining at the sector level. Thus cut out, it makes it possible to distinguish between the working conditions of a VTC driver for example, and a delivery driver on a bicycle.

courier velo report frouin protection independent workers
In this way, each platform may have to accept collective agreements and workers’ representatives.

Currently, the report calls for a period of experimentation. Time to initiate social dialogue and adapt the criteria of representativeness to this unprecedented situation. These collective bargainings allow for a review of the contractual terms of professional practice.

Among the points concerned are the ways in which information is shared on working conditions or even the evolution of algorithms; measures to prevent occupational risks and control of working time; how to control the business platform and the conditions for the breakdown of business relations, etc.

Similarly, the Frouin report provides for a system of protection for representatives. This is in particular to prevent the decrease in activity due to the working time dedicated to these new functions from being penalized by the platform. In the same vein, it wants to reduce the full power of platforms to disconnect its representative delivery companies to limit the means of pressure.

It should be noted that the report also wants to put in place legal obligations for platforms. Thus, even if certain themes do not appear in collective agreements, digital working platforms would be subject to an obligation of transparency on the functioning of algorithms, the methods of rating workers and the use of this data, as well as the methods of pricing.

Frouin report, guaranteeing social rights to workers

The regulation of digital work platforms is accompanied by the obtaining of social rights for the self-employed. Currently, some measures are already in place. Thus, the Labour Code already requires the platform to take over insurance covering the risk of an accident at work, as well as the contribution to vocational training.

driver vtc uberisation report frouin
The Frouin report seeks to ensure social rights for workers on digital platforms. Just like other workers.

Next, the Frouin report wants workers to have access to full information about the races. Distance, guaranteed minimum price, indication of the destination of the race… He is also considering framing the driving time of VTCs and providing a right to rest. It calls for the legal registration of minimum remuneration within the platforms held to be a social responsibility. In addition, thanks to the obligation of transparency and information, it wants to oblige platforms to notify workers in the event of a decision to disconnect the platform and reduce the number of orders allocated.

Finally, by establishing a “common status of workers”, the Frouin report wishes to guarantee them access to personal accounts and rechargeable rights, the effective right to rest, as well as the right to retrain.

Sources

  1. “RegulatingDigital Work Platforms” report,gouvernement.fr, 2 December 2020
  2. “Requalification in employment contract, the wave continues: after the delivery driver “Take it easy”, the driver “Uber” …“, Village Justice, Marie Thibaud-Faber, 12 February 2019
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