EU member states have reached an agreement on rules that pave the way for stronger employment protection for the bloc’s 28 million gig economy workers, Financial Times writes.

The industry-wide settlement could eventually allow workers, including Uber drivers and food delivery drivers, to receive Social Security and other benefits. The agreement unblocked protracted negotiations among the 27 member states that had delayed the development of legislation.

“The gig economy has brought many benefits to our lives, but this must not come at the expense of workers’ rights,” said Swedish Minister for Gender Equality and Working Life Paulina Brandberg.

Most workers at companies like Deliveroo are registered as self-employed. Under the proposals agreed by the European Council, companies that control workers’ working hours and uniforms and limit their ability to accept or refuse work will have to classify them as employees and bear additional costs.

The agreement also includes rules on the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace, according to which companies must ensure human oversight of their automated monitoring and decision-making systems.

EU member states will now discuss these proposals with the European Parliament. There is not much time left for the approval of the package – until the end of the legislative cycle in the EU in the summer of 2024.

We remind that the definition of “employee” has huge implications for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. The more workers are registered as employed rather than self-employed, the more these companies will be required to pay for labor benefits.