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G20 labor ministers look to protect gig workers

by Reuters
Wednesday, 23 June 2021 16:25 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: An Uber and Lyft driver sits in his car in New York City, New York, U.S., March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Penney

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The G20 ministers looked to strengthen protections for gig workers, promote employment for women, and shift working practices in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

ROME, June 23 (Reuters) - Labor ministers from many of the world's biggest economies in the Group of 20 said on Wednesday they will pursue tougher rules to protect 'gig economy' workers.

In a statement following a meeting in Sicily, the ministers said they wanted to avoid any misclassification of the employment status for such gig workers that "might prevent them from accessing the same protections and rights of employees".

The G20 meeting comes as the European Union is set to propose an EU-wide regulatory framework by year-end, and courts and regulators have sought to address perceived shortcomings in the gig economy.

Trade unions blame outsourcing and the use of workforce management algorithms on international digital platforms for an erosion of rights and wages.

The G20 ministers committed also to promote employment for women beyond the goal of reducing labor market participation gaps by 25% by 2025, as set in Brisbane in 2014 by G20 leaders.

"The new commitment is simply to promote employment for women, with particular attention to job quality and remuneration and tackling the gender pay gap," said the Italian labor minister Andrea Orlando who chaired the meeting.

The labor ministers also discussed shifting work practices in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic.

"Smart working offers workers the possibility to better reconcile work and private life, but they must be guaranteed the same protection and opportunities as in-office workers, and especially the so-called right to disconnect," the G20 ministers said in the joint statement.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Crispian Balmer)