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The gig economy and the EU

sewing machinist

With an estimated 40% of EU citizens working in the irregular or ‘gig’ economy – where part-time or short-term contracts dominate the market – the European Commission has decided it is time to provide more legislative protection for those employed in this sector. The EC recommended that such gig workers should have minimum levels of social security protection such as unemployment benefits and maternity leave. These proposals will need to be discussed and adopted by member states but will not be legally binding. Unlike many EU member states, the UK does not provide maternity leave for those on irregular work contracts or insurance for self-employed people; it gives only partial cover for self-employed workers claiming sickness benefits.