Digitalisation and social security in the EU. The case of platform work: from work protection to income protection?

Paul Schoukens*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Platform workers face problems in accessing effective social protection schemes. Furthermore, these workers are not always in a position to build up robust social protection rights even in case they can participate in the schemes. Compared to standard workers, they work in a precarious situation. The small tasks they perform, their geographical mobility and their low earnings are issues that create problems for social security systems' ability to accommodate these workers. In this contribution, attention to the specific working conditions of platform workers is given; starting from the concept of standard work and a discussion of the way platform work deviates from that performed by standard workers (the original basis used to design traditional social protection schemes). In a second part of this paper, the various challenges that platform work create for social protection schemes are enunciated. In the third part of the contribution, the recent EU Recommendation on access to social protection is used as a yardstick to discuss what kind of answers should be given to accommodate platform workers in social protection schemes. In the final part, conclusions around three elements that are characteristic of platform work, yet not sufficiently addressed in national social protection schemes, nor in the EU Recommendation, are developed. These observations help to establish findings on the future outlook of social protection schemes, which should be inclusive and accommodative for all (new) types of work.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1388262720971300
    Pages (from-to)434-451
    Number of pages18
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Security
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


    • Social security
    • platform work
    • digitalisation
    • EU Recommendation access social protection
    • income protection


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