The growth of platform employment (work through aggregators and online services) in the context of the development of digital ecosystems will require a revision of the approach to the regulation of labor relations, experts of the Financial University say. The study they prepared notes that the current system is not able to provide social guarantees for the self-employed, and the transfer of platform workers to the state will negatively affect the profitability of digital platforms. An alternative could be the introduction into legislation of a new form of “sustainable partnership” with a minimum package of social guarantees for employees.
Traditional approaches to the regulation of labor relations are becoming ineffective in the context of the growth of platform employment and require revision, follows from a study by the Center for the Study and Monitoring of the Effectiveness of Measures of Socio-Economic Support for Industry and Entrepreneurship of the Financial University under the government. Recall that in platform employment, digital platforms (aggregators, online services) act as intermediaries between consumers and employees (performers or service providers – taxi drivers, couriers, tutors, and so on). At the same time, the platform does not act as an employer in the traditional sense. According to OECD estimates, the share of platform employment in the structure of the global labor market will grow from the current 3% to 5% by 2023.
The authors of the study point out that such personnel cannot be classified as employees, since they are more independent in choosing a place of work, schedule, number of tasks or orders completed. At the same time, they cannot act as independent contractors, since they depend on the operating conditions of the platform (for example, on its percentage of the order amount). Most citizens working in digital ecosystems now register as self-employed. However, self-employment is only a separate tax regime; it is not a full-fledged form of labor relations.
According to the authors of the report, the most promising in this area is the model of sustainable partnership or “dependent contractors” – it will become an intermediate form of labor relations between hired work and freelancing. The concept of sustainable partnership assumes that employees of platform companies in Russian reality formally remain self-employed, but can count on receiving social guarantees from the employer – from an online platform. We are talking, for example, about the introduction of a minimum wage, paid leave, including childcare, overtime pay, and pension contributions. We are not talking about a full package of social guarantees (as in the case of an employee), but only about the minimum, the authors note. This package may differ depending on national or regional legislation, which will allow platform companies to limit costs. It is noted that the transfer of employees to the category of “dependent contractors” is much more profitable than transfer to the state with payment of a full social package.
The government recognizes the need for changes in the regulation of labor relations in this area. Earlier, the head of the Ministry of Labor Anton Kotyakov proposed to work out the regulation of platform employment by the International Labor Organization, providing social guarantees for non-standard forms of employment. The department is already preparing amendments to the law on employment – they provide for the introduction of tools to improve the social protection of the self-employed.