ILO evaluates elaboration of international standard on digital platform economy
31 enero 2024


Platform economy. On January 31, the International Labor Organization (ILO) published the report “Making decent work a reality in the platform economy“. It contains international practices on the regulation of the platform economy and makes suggestions for action based on those experiences. The recommendations are intended as a starting point in the process that could lead to a new international labor standard on decent work in the platform economy. Aspects that could be covered by the eventual labor standard include the regulation of working time, freedom of association and collective bargaining, protection of workers’ personal data and the criminalization of employment relationships. The report will be discussed at the International Labor Conferences in 2025 and 2026, to evaluate the development of an international standard in this regard.

According to the report, although regulation in this area is still incipient, platform workers in Latin America and the Caribbean have begun to have some legal protection. However, it highlights the new reform to the Chilean Labor Code that differentiates between employment contracts for dependent and independent workers on digital platforms, based on the level of subordination and dependence. In addition, the report highlights that recent amendments to the Labor Code grant common rights to platform workers, including freelancers, such as the ability to form unions and bargain collectively. With regard to social security benefits, the report indicates that Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have expanded their health coverage network for this type of worker.

On the other hand, the organization identified that, although the prevalence of platform work remains low in many countries, informality is high. In the case of Chile, informality in the sector decreased from 93.5% in the first quarter of 2020 to 75% in September 2023. Thus, the region is making progress in overcoming informality by regularizing this type of employment through regulatory proposals. For example, in Brazil, the government established a tripartite committee to propose regulations on platform work, addressing activities such as passenger transportation and delivery.

Among the recommendations put forward, the ILO recognizes that the similarities between online platforms offering remote work, such as location-based platforms like Rappi, would allow for regulation under a common set of principles that can be framed in the same instrument.  Regarding the suspension or termination of the employment relationship, it recommends that the same be done in conjunction with the deactivation of accounts to ensure the protection of workers’ personal data. Finally, it indicates that the potential international standard should be updated due to the rapid evolution of the platform economy market. In addition, the ILO has hinted at the possibility of developing more than one international standard on the subject, but has not yet defined which option it will opt for.

Next steps

The report proposes to gather input from States, chambers of commerce and trade unions by means of a questionnaire on the development of future international standards on the subject. The questionnaire will be sent to [email protected], no later than August 31, 2024. This report and the result of the questionnaire will serve as the basis for the first discussion on the creation of a standard at the meeting of the International Labor Conference of the ILO in June 2025. At the next International Labor Conference in June 2026, the adoption of the potential standard would be sought.

Engagement opportunities for McDonald’s

Through the questionnaire that will be used by the ILO to nurture the eventual international standard, McDonald’s will be able to give its opinion on the content of the international instrument through the business chambers of which it is a member in Latin American countries. The questionnaire asks what type of instrument should be adopted (convention, recommendation, among others), the scope of application and provisions to be included such as health and safety, violence and harassment, remuneration, social security, among other questions included.