Access to social protection for platform and other non-standard workers: A literature review

Tamara A. Kool, Giulio Bordon & Franziska Gassmann


The need to extend social protection to include new forms of employment has progressively been recognised by policymakers in the last decade. Several countries introduced new schemes particularly for this group or made provisions to existing schemes to cover new forms of employment. In order to get a better overview of the different measures applied, this paper systematically reviews the existing literature with a focus on European countries and a subset of OECD countries, by focusing first on how non-standard, and in particular platform workers are classified and legally protected. Secondly, the paper reviews the extent to which platform and other non-standard workers have access to the different forms of social security provisions.

While there is a clear conceptualisation of how platform work can be classified, the challenge lies in the legal construct underlying the work activities. Differing practices prevail between countries and only a few have thus far explicitly recognised platform work or crowd work as a form of employment. The lack of statutory and effective social protection coverage of platform workers can be addressed in various ways. These include adjusting existing schemes in terms of eligibility criteria, portability of transfers, incorporating digital innovation, and providing flexible security. Current shifts in policies have the potential to decrease socio-economic differences between different employment statuses. Ultimately, these shifts promote the transferability of individuals' social rights between employment statuses and ease the use of individual social protection accounts.

Keywords: platform work, social security

JEL Classification: H55, J20, O33

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