Policy Scenarios to Guarantee Good Work in the Platform Economy
It is not possible to imagine a world without platforms: we order delivery and even book cleaning workers through platforms. People can now, from the comfort of our homes, earn a wage by writing up some text or programming. The Policy Lab, in conjunction with the departments of the German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, has developed a series of policy scenarios for good work in the platform economy.
With the increasing significance of platform-based work, an irreversible development has materialized. Even though research has yet to produce reliable data on the future extent and magnitude of this development, nor has it done so regarding the opportunities and risks it presents, generally speaking, the consensus is that the platform economy will grow further. Therefore, it is essential that we recognize calls to action early on and create a framework for good work in the platform economy. The Policy Lab: Digital, Work & Society engaged in discussion with experts of the economy, entrepreneurs and workers to intensively looks into the real and legal nature of the structure of the platform economy.
The Federal Minister Hubertus Heil has tasked the Policy Lab with shedding some light on the state of the platform economy in Germany and to develop policy approaches for good work in the platform economy.
In February 2019, the Policy Lab developed an overview of the situation within the framework of the so-called Hearings with actors from the field of the platform economy. Platform workers (who provide their talents on or through a platform) as well as the operators of online platforms were invited to these Hearings and presented their perception, future challenges and possible calls to action that they see in the platform economy. Data transparency, rights and obligations of the platform operators, the differentiation between contract workers and workers were all topics of discussion.
In May of 2019, the Policy Lab hosted two four-day Future-Labs regarding the topic of platform economy with an interdisciplinary group composed of representatives from academia and praxis. A Leitmotiv of the labs was the question of if platform workers truly require more social protections, as this is the case in the current system. Especially noteworthy is that we shed a light on which requirements and entitlements platform workers do have and which interests does the state have in a world with these changed parameters within the economy and society. Additionally these policy proposals have flowed into the work of the Policy Lab.