The economic and social situation of crowd workers and their legal status in Europe

Translated title of the contribution: 유럽 크라우드 워커의 경제사회적 상황과 법적 지위

Ursula Huws, Simon Joyce

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This article summarises the economic and social situations of crowd workers in Europe, defined as workers carrying out paid work managed by online platforms.
It begins by reviewing the existing definitions of crowd work and summarises the existing evidence on its extent and the characteristics of crowd workers before going on to present the results of a pioneering survey of crowd work in four European countries: UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. The analysis of this first random population survey of crowd workers groups them into three broad categories: those whose work is carried out online, independent of location; those who work on the premises of clients or customers; and those who do driving work. However it finds that many crowd workers engage in more than one type of work, seeking an income by any means possible.
The article then goes on to examine the regulation of crowd work and the legal situation of crowd workers, identifying a number of unresolved issues. One question is which national regulation should apply when workers, clients and platforms are based in different countries. There is also uncertainty about the legal status of online platforms, which in turn affects how they should be regulated. The employment status of crowd workers emerges as a critical issue for determining the obligations of platforms and clients and the rights of crowd workers in relation to a range of issues including the right to challenge customers’ quality rating, rights to privacy and data protection, the right to payment for work that has been completed, the right to be paid promptly, and rights related to intellectual property, such as the right to be cited as the author of a particular text, or the right to copyright in work for which the customer has not paid. Other issues relate to the health and safety not just of crowd workers but also of their customers and the general public.
Finally, the article raises some broader questions about the implications of crowdsourcing at a societal level, including the implications for national tax and social security systems.
Translated title of the contribution유럽 크라우드 워커의 경제사회적 상황과 법적 지위
Original languageOther
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Labor Brief
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2016


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