As Expresso had already advanced, the regulation of employment on digital platforms is the top priority of António Costa’s executive in labor legislation. The confirmation was given by the Minister of Labor, Ana Mendes Godinho, to the journalists, at the end of the meeting of the social consultation this Wednesday, where the Government presented to the partners the Green Paper for the Future of Labor.
“We take as a priority the regulation of work on digital platforms. We will work in this direction in the context of social consultation with partners”, said Ana Mendes Godinho at the press conference at the end of the meeting.
Ana Mendes Godinho recalled that this new form of work registered “a very relevant increase during the pandemic”. In addition, unlike what happens with teleworking, labor relations in the context of the platform economy are not covered by national labor law. .
For this reason, the minister wants to “obtain the greatest consensus with the social partners for the legislative initiative that the Government will assume in the short term”, said Ana Mendes Godinho.
The details on this legislative proposal are not yet known, not least because the Government wants to discuss them with the social partners. However, Ana Mendes Godinho has already left some key guidelines.
The Government wants to create a presumption of workmanship for platform workers. And this can be the critical aspect in negotiating with bosses and unions.
It is that the concept of presumption of labor presented by Ana Mendes Godinho is influenced by the controversial Law AB5, approved in the North American State of California, which transfers to the employer the burden of proving that there is no employment dependency relationship with the professionals. In other words, Portugal may adopt a law that assumes that there is a contractual link between workers and the platform. It will be up to the latter to prove the contrary.
In addition to the issue of bonding, the Government’s proposal should also contemplate the creation of a contributory and tax system adapted to work on platforms, whose design is not yet known.
It is also in the Executive’s plans to adapt the social protection system to the new forms of work, promoting the extension of coverage to all workers, regardless of their legal relationship. At stake are not only platform workers, but digital nomads. In fact, Ana Mendes Godinho, assumed that the Government wants to “position Portugal as a destination” for these highly qualified professionals.
The Minister of Labor also revealed that the Government intends that new categories of workers (for example, platform workers, outsourcing workers and economically dependent independent workers) will be covered by collective contraction.
The idea is that a worker “regardless of legal form, be included and involved in collective bargaining,” said the Minister of Labor. And he reinforced the idea of ”extending collective bargaining to ways of providing work that are normally outside this collective bargaining”.
Teleworking is another of the Government’s priorities and one of the major themes of the Green Paper. Teleworking has been provided for in the Labor Code since 2003, but the Government recognizes that it is necessary to improve the law and safeguard the protection of workers’ rights.
With the opposition parties presenting proposals for legislative changes in this area in the Assembly of the Republic, the minister, the minister of labor, refused to set a time horizon for a legislative proposal by the government. But, he added that “our commitment is to involve the social partners in the necessary changes to telework”.
The Green Paper for the Future of Labor will be discussed in the framework of social consultation during the month of April and in May it will be open to public consultation.