The employment status of food delivery riders in Europe and the UK: self-employed or worker?

Delphine Defossez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Online platforms are revolutionizing our daily lives in an attempt to make it easier by offering innovative services. They also have introduced radical new business models which provide a new type of flexible working, facilitating employment. While platforms are revolutionary vehicles, they also denied workers status, resulting in food delivery riders facing precarious working conditions. The current regulatory framework is underdeveloped and unable to guarantee basic social rights to platform workers, except for Spain. At the same time, delivery workers are fighting to get some form of recognition and protection. Consequently, courts have been increasingly requested to determine the riders’ legal status. However, courts are struggling in characterizing those employment relationships resulting in disparities. For instance, the Cour de Cassation in France has established that an employer-employee relationship existed while the UK High Court denied worker status to Deliveroo riders. This lack of harmonization and different rulings could result in the application of EU rules in some countries but not others. It might, therefore, be time for the EU to start recognizing and regulating these jobs to offer better worker protections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalMaastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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