Workshop: The impact of the gig economy on the transformation of employment relations: EU and EAEU compared


  • Kirill Tomashevski, International University “MITSO“, Minsk
  • Nikita Lyutov, Moscow State Law Kutafin University

The general idea of the proposed workshop is to compare academic views, legal experience and practice regarding the transformation of employment relations in regional integration projects: EU (presented by authors from Germany, Estonia and Spain) and EAEU (experts from Belarus and Russia) with an idea to propose some vision of similar and divergent trends of development in two regions and their member states.

The challenges of the gig economy to the employment relations in the EU states have longer experience compared to the EAEU states. Nevertheless, both regions have faced rather similar problems in this respect. Non-standard and ‘new’ forms of employment such as work via online platforms, crowdsourcing, work on call, etc. are widespread in both regions, and one of the main reasons of their existence is the emergence of the gig economy.

In all countries under discussion these non-standard forms of employment cause the blurring distinction between the employment and civil-law relations.
The practice in the EU courts is far from uniformity in the qualification of the relations of self-employed citizens as labour or civil law model. Are they covered by social security regulations or not? These issues will be discussed in the reports of G. Tavits from Estonia and O. Chesalina from Germany.

One of the most problematic areas of the gig economy influence on the labour rights is collective bargaining. This issue will be discussed by T. Bazzani from Pompeu Fabra University (Spain). This report will focus both on the problems of the recognition of the “voice” of these workers and on comment of the recent decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CM/ResChS(2018)11), which seems to bring a relevant contribution in ending restrictions on collective bargaining for the self-employed persons.

Russian and Belarusian labour law is heavily rooted in the Soviet past. The legislation concerning the identification of employment relationship is not an exception to this rule. Traditional approach of the Labour Codes in post-Soviet counties towards the distinction between labour and civil law contract is based on the understanding that labour law regulates the law as the process and employer instructs the employee how the work must be done, while civil law deals only with material results of work. Nevertheless, such distinction is losing its applicability in context of transformation of the types of work and growing number of forms of atypical employment.

Similarly as in the EU countries, the transformation of Russian and Belarusian labour law in the post-Soviet time shows the clear trend to differentiation and fragmentation with constantly growing number of special norms covering specific (atypical) types of employment relationships. At the same time modern labour law in EAEU states (for instance, Russia and Kazakhstan) reflects only some of recently appearing flexible forms of employment, such as temporary agency work or remote work. Other modern types of atypical work, such as job sharing or work via online platforms remain outside of scope of labour legislation. The borderline between the work as independent contractor and employment in many cases becomes more and more obscure, and it is not surprising that case law doesn’t show much uniformity in cases of distinguishing the fact of existence of employment relation. The reports of Russian researchers S. Shuraleva and N. Lyutov will investigate the new legislation in this sphere in Russia and first steps of legislators from Kazakhstan and Belarus, as well as comparability of these steps with the EU experience.