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Labour Council takes a position on the legal status of food couriers

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 15.10.2020 15.49 | Published in English on 16.10.2020 at 14.56
Press release

The Labour Council has issued two opinions concerning the legal status of food couriers working in the platform economy. According to the Labour Council, the food couriers of the companies that were the subject of the request for opinions are considered employees and fall within the scope of application of the Working Hours Act.

“Although the opinions of the Labour Council are not binding, they nevertheless offer important guidelines. The status of thousands of people who work in the platform economy in Finland will be affected by the Council’s opinion. I assume that companies will now carry out this kind of assessment,” Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen says.

“In its Government Programme, the Government committed itself to examining the need for legislative changes from the perspective of the transformation of work. The platform economy is at the heart of this work, and the Labour Council’s opinion will be taken into account in the preparation,” Minister Haatainen adds.

Characteristics of employment relationship under examination

The Regional State Administrative Agency requested opinions from the Labour Council regarding the application of the Working Hours Act to food couriers of two companies. The key issue was whether a food courier is considered an employee or an entrepreneur.

The companies have viewed food couriers as independent entrepreneurs who are not subject to employment legislation. The Labour Council, on the other hand, considered that the characteristics of an employment relationship were fulfilled in the work of food couriers. The Labour Council voted on the decision with the employer organisations disagreeing.

So-called platform-based work utilises a digital platform maintained by a company, through which food couriers are informed of the need for delivery. The company recruits restaurants as users of its platform and food couriers for delivery services.

Labour Council issues opinions on the application of employment law

The Labour Council is an independent special authority under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. It has a minimum of nine part-time members three of whom are independent. The other members represent employer and employee organisations.

The Labour Council issues opinions on the application and interpretation of legislation on working hours, annual holidays and occupational safety and health and a number of other acts on the protection of employees.

Inquiries:

Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 40 751 5496
Timo Nevaranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 50 574 1430
Tarja Kröger, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 937
Jaana Paanetoja, Secretary of the Labour Council, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 104 (Labour Council’s opinions)

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