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Research

Non-standard employment situations

AIAS-HSI

In the last century, it was chiefly the flexible options within the legal concept of an employment contract (on-call contracts, outwork, minimum/maximum hours’ contracts) that generated interest. The most notable development was the 1998 legal codification of the temporary employment contract. In recent times the range of possibilities has expanded to include various new employment forms that are in some way different from the classical, or ‘fixed’, employment contract. The most prominent examples are:

  • self-employed workers, including platform labour;
  • payroll.

Recent developments

The rise in different employment formats is caused by a number of developments. For instance, many 21st-century work providers (employers and clients) now prefer not to use employment contracts. The rules governing those forms of contracts are felt to pose an excessive burden, for example for dismissal and disability. Another often-repeated reason for this shift lies in the international competition that puts pressure on the employer’s costs, particularly at the lower end of the labour market. Classical employment, the work providers argue, has become too expensive.

The rise of the self-employed worker

The surge in the number of self-employed workers has triggered numerous questions about the desirability of protecting and regulating this category. For example, to what extent is the rise of self-employed workers linked to how employers and employees view labour/employment regulation? The European Commission has also expressed its thoughts on this issue, and recommends cutting back the incentives for hiring self-employed workers and increasing the social protection for this category.

Platform labour

With the evolution of labour and employment as a result of the continuing growth of the service sector, and the growing need among both work providers and workers for a degree of flexibility that standard employment contracts cannot offer (or only barely), a new category of labour has emerged: platform workers. New forms of enterprise are appearing, driven by information technology, as can be seen at the national, European and international levels. Collectively, this development is labelled the crowd economy, while specific forms are identified using terms such as sharing economycollaborative economy,collaborative consumptionpeer-to-peer economygig economy,platform economyand on-demand economy. At the same time, this development presents society with significant dilemmas, most of them in connection with employment law and social security law: laws on equal treatment, redundancy protection and wage payment and continuation, for example, but also more nebulous concepts such as proper employer practices. The interest in these issues revolves around the question of what employment laws should govern these (and other) ‘bottom-up’ initiatives. Social research is key to answering this question, and can shed light on the motives (and experiences) of the platforms themselves, the individuals working through the platforms and the clients who contract workers on the platforms.

Payroll

In summary

Essentially, this main topic chiefly researches the background to people’s preferences for one type of employment relationship or another, the legal differences between those relationships and the question of whether these non-standard forms – some of which can barely be called that – offer an acceptable degree of protection compared with standard employment contracts (or: compared with identified values and functions, see main topic 1).

Projects

 

  • Joint project AIAS-HSI and Clara Wichmann Bureau – Better Regulating Domestic Work: Within this project researchers from the AIAS-HSI and the Clara Wichmann Bureau will issue a comparative study on regulation and public policies on the domestic work sector in several EU countries – focusing on policy lessons to improve the current legal framework in the Netherlands. Starting date 1.5.2019 End Date 30.09.2019.

Publications

•de Beer, P. T., & Verhulp, E. (2017). Is wettelijke regulering de oorzaak van de groei van flexible werk in Nederland? TRA, 9(10), 19-24.

•de Beer, P. T., & Verhulp, E. (2017). Dertig vragen en antwoorden over flexibel werk. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced labour Studies (AIAS).

• de Beer, P. T. (2018). Waarom gebruiken werkgevers (steeds meer) flexibele arbeidskrachten? Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken, 34(1), 62-84

•Keune, M. J., & Dekker, F. (2018). The Netherlands: the sectoral impact of digitalisation on employment and job quality. In Work in the digital age: challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.: Identifying the challenges for work in the digital age London/New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

•Keune, M., & Pedaci, M. (2019). Trade union strategies against precarious work: Common trends and sectoral divergence in the EU, European Journal of Industrial Relations. DOI: 10.1177/0959680119827182

Dissemination Activities

PHS-Quality project Seminar

The research group of the EU funded research project PHS-QUALITY - Job Quality and Industrial Relations in the Personal and Household Services Sector (coordinated by Prof. M. Keune and Dr. Nuria Ramos Martin from AIAS-HSI)  presented the preliminary results of this project on a seminar on 22 February 2019 at the Law Faculty - University of Amsterdam.

The aim of the PHS-QUALITY project is to study, from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective, the existing public policies and social partners’ strategies towards personal and household services in ten EU countries, namely, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the UK.

Workshop: Transformations in the organisation of work - 100 years ILO - Spanish Ministry of Labour

Nuria Ramos Martín gave a presentation on the transformations in the organisation of work. The seminar 'Future of Work: Implications for Health and Safety at Work', organised by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and the ILO, took place on 12 March 2019 in Madrid.

Forthcoming Event: NEWEFIN Project Seminar - 17 May 2019- University Carlos III/Campus Puerta Toledo - Madrid, Spain -. The research team of the EU project New Employment Forms and Challenges to Industrial Relations (coordinated by Nuria Ramos Martin) will present the preliminary results of this project during this seminar and will discuss these findings with different stakeholders (representatives from the social partners at national and EU level and policy makers). The main aim of this seminar  is to present a comparative analysis of how the challenges to labour law and social protection systems, generated by the trends to labour market flexibility and rising non-standard/new forms of employment, are addressed through innovative policy responses and social dialogue in several European states.

Forthcoming event: 4th Labour Law Research Network Conference, Valparaiso (Chile), 23-25 June 2019, Panel: New Forms of Employment: Challenges to Labour Law and Industrial Relations.

Papers to be presented:

1) Ana Belen Munoz Ruiz, ‘Digital Platforms Workers in Spain: Proposals to Improve their Legal Status.’

2) Nuria Ramos Martin (University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI), ‘Platform work in France: Can collective rights overcome the social protection gap?’

3)  Ilse Zaal and Niels Jansen (University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI), ‘The inseparable worlds of self-employment and the platform economy.’

4) Attila Kun (Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary), ‘New forms of employment in Hungary: labour-market practicality versus labour law rationale?’

Forthcoming event: 12th ILERA European Regional Congress, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, 5–7 September 2019. Workshop: New Forms of Employment: Challenges to Labour Law and Industrial Relations. The main aim of this workshop is to bring together socio-legal comparative analyses on how the challenges to labour law and social protection systems (generated by the trends to increasing labour market flexibility and higher incidence of non-standard and new forms of employment) are addressed through innovative policy responses, social dialogue, and social partner initiatives in several European states. Papers to be presented:

1) Sabina Stiller (University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI), ‘Germany’s cautious approach to the regulation of  flexible and new forms of work and conflicting social partner responses.’

2) Nuria Ramos Martin (University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI), ‘Platform work in France: Can collective rights overcome the social protection gap?’

3)  Ilse Zaal and Niels Jansen (University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI), ‘The inseparable worlds of self-employment and the platform economy.’

4) Attila Kun (Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary), ‘New forms of employment in Hungary: labour-market practicality versus labour law rationale?’

 

 

 

 

More information about the project NEWEFIN

More information about the project PHS