The collaborative economy and digital platforms are now part of our everyday lives (Airbnb, Uber, Deliveroo, etc). Considered to be part of the fourth industrial revolution, they have been under the media spotlight in the past few years. Platforms are new intermediaries between consumers and providers or agents who can be private individuals, employees or ad hoc independent workers. These agents have diverse and unequal statuses and social protections which are just starting to be regulated by states (France, California, etc) and which merit attention.
The coronavirus public health crisis has intensified the need for scrutiny since it has worsened the situation of vulnerable workers. Governments (and sometimes platforms) have had to adopt emergency social protection measures. In this context, platform workers’ social protection requires study more than ever. This is what the CEPASSOC project aims to do.
CEPASSOC’s goal is to assess whether platform workers need a renewed specific social protection attached to their status of citizen (social citizenship) instead of the existing one which is attached to their status of employee or independent worker. Social citizenship is a social protection model which was initially created in the United Kingdom in the 1950’s. It aims at universally granting protection to individuals for the sole reason that they are citizens (hence we use the words individuals and citizens as synonyms here). This means that social protection is not reserved to workers or employees. The characteristics of social citizenship are its universal inclusion (all can have it) and its universal benefits (all benefits are granted equally regardless of peoples’ situation). Social citizenship could be a stepping stone to reconceptualise platform workers’ social protection in a globalised and changing market.
This project tests the universality of platform workers’ social citizenship by focusing on three concrete and specific objects: 1) Access to healthcare, 2) Access to minimum insertion benefits and 3) Access to lifelong training. These three objects will be studied through the prism of three disciplines (history, law and sociology) and in four countries (France, United Kingdom, Sweden and Portugal) as well as the European Union.
Five testable hypotheses structure the project:
1. Can access to healthcare be universally granted to platform workers?
2. Can minimum benefits be universally granted to platform workers?
3. Can access to lifelong training be universally granted to platform workers?
Having answered these practical questions will then help us test two more general hypotheses:
4. How and under which conditions can platform workers access these protections? Are some categories (minorities, women…) dis/advantaged? Can they federate/associate?
5. If our three objects of study (or any number of them) can be universal, does it mean that social citizenship can be a model for reforming existing social protections of platform workers at national level and/or at European Union level?
CEPASSOC gathers 10 lawyers, a sociologist and a historian from 4 countries. It proposes a comparative and interdisciplinary study in order to assess the universality of platform workers’ social protection. In addition to high-level scientific publications, this project will result in legal data mapping of platform workers’ social protection, an open source report with legislative recommendations and a guide aimed at platform workers themselves.
Madame Claire Marzo (Marchés, Institutions, Libertés)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
MIL Marchés, Institutions, Libertés
Help of the ANR 97,465 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2021 - 24 Months