Work Streams

ACCESS TO SOCIAL PROTECTION

The objective of this work stream is to address issues related to access to social protection, specifically in light of the current crisis and post-COVID management. The work stream focuses on concrete actions that can be executed in a short-time span. In this way we hope to support post-crisis management and contribute to ideas that can aid recovery of the labour market.

In particular, diverse forms of work (e.g. contract work) can provide immediate sources of income, which can be especially advantageous in the times of crises. However, the demands of such situations can put workers, especially those in precarious jobs, in a particularly vulnerable position (from both economic and healthcare perspective), with significant costs for social security systems.

Therefore, the objective of this work stream is to identify ways to ensure equal access to social protection of workers in diverse forms of employment in the times of crises, as well as suggest ways that can create resilience of labour markets in the future.

TOPICS WE ARE DISCUSSING:

  • How can social protection be managed and distributed?
  • Based on what criteria can social protection contributions be calculated (e.g. hourly rate; weekly earnings)?
  • What is the responsibility of platforms, individuals, private and public sector in financing social protection entitlements?
  • Which social protection benefits should be obligatory and which should be optional and what are the constraints (e.g. job duration)?
  • What can we learn from few pioneering examples (e.g. the case of Estonia and its entrepreneurial accounts and Hilfr – Danish platform’s agreement) and can they be scaled across Europe?

Workstream chair:

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Jovana Karanovic is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Technology and Operations Management at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and Founder of Reshaping Work.

Jovana’s research is at the intersection of digital technologies and new organizational forms, with a particular focus on platforms. Specifically, Jovana is interested in the new forms of organizing in the platform economy, strategies that online platforms undertake, and their impact on the broader set of stakeholders, including platform workers. Relatedly, she also explores alternative organizational forms and governance structures in the platform economy, such as platform cooperatives. Her research has most recently been published in a leading business journal – the Journal of Management Studies.

She has recently been recognized by the media outlet Silicon Canals among the most powerful female ecosystem builders of Amsterdam’s tech domain for the year 2021. Jovana is also an RSA fellow. RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has been leading the social change for the past 260 years. Jovana joined their 30,000 strong Fellowship to support RSA’s mission and join inspiring change makers.

Workers' representation

The objective of this work stream is to assess the need for representation for workers in diverse forms of work. This includes help in various contractual arrangements, collective bargaining and ensuring the social fairness of platform work.

The rules governing worker’s representation are still largely based on full-time open-ended contracts between a worker/collective and a single employer, leaving workers in diverse forms of work and self-employed only marginally covered or completely out of the picture. 

Therefore, this work stream strives to assess benefits  of representation that are currently available to those in full-time employment and evaluate how they can be applied to those in diverse forms of employment and self-employed. The work stream also looks beyond the current schemes to unearth alternative solutions that may be more aligned with the demands of today’s labour market, ensuring the European labour protection model that is future-proof and resilient.

TOPICS WE ARE DISCUSSING:

  • How can we ensure workers’ voice is represented?
  • How can we encourage social dialogue among different stakeholders?
  • How can we overcome the hurdles such as geographic dispersion of workers and relatively short duration of some jobs, which may demotivate workers to engage in forms of collective representation?
  • Which party should represent interests of workers?
  • What other forms of worker engagement can be effective beyond a formal social dialogue?

Workstream chair:

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Alessio Bertolini is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, working on the Fairwork project. For Fairwork, Alessio conducts research into the working conditions at digital platforms in the UK and Germany, and is involved in scoring and ranking them. He is also coordinating research activities in a number of other countries, including Belgium, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.

Before joining the Fairwork Project, Alessio was part of the ‘Work on Demand: Contracting for Work in a Changing Economy’ project at the University of Glasgow. Within this broader project, Alessio had been investigating ideas and strategies used by different stakeholders and policy actors in the regulation of the platform economy in a comparative perspective.

Alessio completed his PhD in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh on the topic of comparative labour market regulations for non-standard workers in Italy and the UK. With a background in economics and policy studies, his area of expertise involves employment and welfare rights for non-standard workers from a comparative European perspective. Both before and during his PhD, he was involved in several national and international research projects on the topic of labour market and welfare policies.

ALGORITHMIC TRANSPARENCY

The objective of this work stream is to address ethical/social issues related to the use of algorithms and technology in the business model of platform companies. After assessing the current situation and the pressing matters at hand, the group will discuss the need for algorithmic transparency.

Taking into account good practices worldwide, this workstream aims to come up with agreements between the different stakeholder on the extent of algorithmic regulation, restriction or data sharing with official institution. Key outcomes include managing responsibility for evaluating algorithmic transparency and ways of inter-platform algorithmic connections.

TOPICS WE ARE DISCUSSING:

  • How can we ensure algorithms are developed and enacted in a responsible manner? What makes an algorithm transparent?
  • Who is responsible for evaluating algorithmic transparency?
  • What steps should be taken if algorithm is found to disadvantage a certain population?
  • How can algorithms assist with recording reputation and enabling reputation portability?

Workstream chair:

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Zachary Kilhoffer worked as a Researcher in the Jobs and Skills unit at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) from 2017 to 2021. His current work concerns European labour markets with particular focus on the platform economy and the future of work. In addition to desk research and qualitative research methods, Zachary enjoys webscraping and data analysis using Python and R.

In August 2021, Zachary will begin his PhD in information science at the University of Illinois, focusing on rating and reputation systems in online platforms and marketplaces.

RE-SKILLING, UP-SKILLING AND MICRO-CREDENTIALS

This work stream encompasses topics related to skills development and their utilisation in the digital world as well as funding schemes that can be appropriated.

The group will map specific skills that workers in diverse forms of work and self-employed have and further acquire and suggest possibilities for career advancement. The need for re-skilling and up-skilling of workforce in the digital environment will be addressed.

Aware of different national legislations in the EU, the group strives to make suggestions based on the reality beyond the EU, including in the EU neighbouring countries, by focusing on best practices, among other things.

This work stream is guided by the New Skills Agenda proposed by the European Commission as outlined here.

TOPICS WE ARE DISCUSSING:

  • How can private and public sector assist workers in developing necessary skills? How can we ensure skills portability?
  • How can we ensure recognizability of micro-credentials across EU Member States?
  • How can Individual Learning Accounts assist with skills and career development?
  • What infrastructure is needed for management and quality control and who needs to assume responsibility?

Workstream chair:

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Natalija Counet is the Talent Lead at the Amsterdam Economic Board. She works together with companies, knowledge institutions and policy makers on the development of initiatives and collaborations in the field of the labor market and education. Her latest initiative Tomas provides overview of the talent development ecosystem in the region, allows organizations to find each other at the point of need and match their upskilling and reskilling needs.

Natalija is also the founder of the 361degreesLAB that helps organisations and professionals to address the growing skill gap, prepare for the future and answer the key question everyone is confronted with nowadays: what should you learn next?

Project partners

Project partners are micro businesses, SMEs, incumbent firms, labour unions, research organizations, advocacy groups and associations that have stakes, knowledge or expertise on the future of work debate. The project is a collaborative effort whereby corporate partners contribute financially and knowledge partners contribute in-kind.