The gig economy: employment status in Belgium and beyond

Explore the findings of PwC Legal’s gig economy study, a roundup of the social legislation on this new way of working in 10 western European countries.

The gig economy is here to stay

In response to the evolving marketplace, the gig economy was born. Its inception drew immediate controversy, with companies like Uber and Deliveroo praised by some and demonised by others for their revolutionary and atypical ways of working. One of the main causes of controversy is the high degree of uncertainty faced by people performing services in the gig economy. The major concerns relate to their contractual and social security status:

  • Are they self-employed? If so, does this mean that the company can’t exercise any authority over them and/or control them?
  • Are they considered employees? If so, are they able to enjoy the flexibility that comes with the self-employed status inherent to the gig economy?

These questions are compelling businesses and labour courts worldwide. It can be fairly stated that time is of the essence, and we must conclude that the present labour laws may no longer be sufficiently adapted to current and future needs.

"If you weren't convinced that the gig economy was here to stay before, you probably will be after the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of us are staying at home, gig workers and other services providers kept the economy running. This situation has made the absence of fitting legislation painfully clear for all parties involved."

Pascale Moreau, Partner, PwC Legal

Same question, different year

As discussed in our previous report, the gig economy has been the subject of much controversy, especially in relation to the social status of the workers involved (employee vs. self-employed). Our report last year made it clear that various countries are struggling with this phenomenon, but only few have taken action in this respect.

The limited legislative progress that's been made usually implies an investment in upgrading the social rights of gig workers in order to offer them a social status similar to that of employees. However, no out-of-the-box solutions have been presented to fit the gig framework completely.

 “There’s no single status that accommodates the needs of the gig economy. The proof of this is that in the majority of the countries we examined, there are court cases that question the status of workers in the gig economy. We should dare to completely rethink the labour law framework to find a balance between social protection and the needs of the current economy."

"Legal certainty, transparency and flexibility ought to be the cornerstones of a new labour law. The goal should be to find an appropriate legal framework that stimulates the new economies, without needlessly complicating our labour law any further.”

Pascale Moreau, Partner, PwC Legal

Contact us

Pascale Moreau

Pascale Moreau

Lawyer - Partner, PwC Legal BV/SRL

Tel: +32 479 90 02 76

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