We are helping platform companies improve working standards in the gig economy

26 Feb 2020

The impact.

The World Economic Forum is working with Cabify, Deliveroo, Grab, MBO Partners, Postmates and Uber to improve working standards for the tens of millions of people who earn a living or top up their incomes through digital work/service platforms.

The chief executive officers from the six companies have signed The Charter of Principles for Good Platform Work, committing to ensure that platform workers receive fair conditions, treatment, benefits and training opportunities. The Charter, part of the The Promise of Platform Work, addresses diversity and inclusion; safety and well-being; flexibility and fair conditions; reasonable pay and fees; social protection; learning and development; voice and participation; and data management.

What’s the challenge?

Businesses operating digital platforms for individuals to hire out their services range from ride-hailing apps to online food delivery and professional services. These companies have experienced strong growth in recent years. The latest data shows that approximately 0.5% to 2% of the workforce in advanced economies is engaged in platform work, with global spending in this area increasing by 43% in 2018.

Legislation has not kept pace with the rapid adoption of technology and innovation in many parts of the world, and individuals work through platforms in diverse ways. The combination of these factors poses challenges for the rules and laws governing work and safety nets. For example, the number of taxi drivers in the US has risen strongly over the past five years, primarily due to the expansion of Uber and Lyft.

“Platform business represents an urgent challenge for regulation of labour markets to ensure formal work with rights, health and safety, minimum living wages or income along with the freedom to organize and bargain collectively, and universal social protection. In the absence of government action, it is pleasing to see this industry discussion.”

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

Our approach.

By collaborating with partners, the Forum is developing a comprehensive approach to provide clarity on platforms’ responsibilities to the workers who use their platforms, empower platform workers, promote their dignity and well-being, while supporting flexibility, innovation and the value offered by the platform economy to users and clients.

Platform operators need to set high standards to support those providing services through their platforms. In this respect, The Charter of Principles for Good Platform Work is a groundbreaking initiative by leading companies in the sector to collectively identify and commit to key principles that, in their view, should underpin good platform work.

The next stage of work will engage the wider community, including policy-makers and workers’ organizations, to discuss the practical measures required to support implementation of principles for good platform work and provide legal certainty to the sector.

The Charter of Principles for Good Platform Work was developed within the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society, which brings more than 100 leading companies together with 100 international, civil society and academic organizations to advance prosperous, inclusive and equitable economies and societies.

“We are focused on advancing the next way of working for current and future generations and the World Economic Forum is the platform that will help inform and motivate government and industry to adopt policies designed to support this highly influential portion of the workforce”

Gene Zaino, Founder and Executive Chairman of MBO Partners

How can you get involved?

The Forum is looking for platform companies, regulatory bodies, workers’ organizations and independent experts globally who are committed to advancing working standards in the platform ecosystem, to collaborate on the next stage of the Promise of Platform Work initiative. This will explore how to ensure strong standards for platform work in practice, through a combination of policy changes, improved practice by platform companies themselves and dialogue between government, platform companies and workers’ representatives.

We are also looking as part of this initiative to work with national statistical agencies and digital work/services platforms to create new metrics on the numbers, practices and working conditions of platform workers.

The initiative is part of the Reskilling Revolution Platform that aims to provide better jobs, skills and education to 1 billion people by 2030.

Understand the Principles for Good Platform Work

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