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CMS On your radar | Issue 11

Key employment issues worldwide

November 2019

Evolution or revolution? How should employment law adapt to respond to the changing pace of the world of work?  The global growth in the gig economy has brought a variety of local challenges. Laws which have determined who is an employee, drafted in pre-digital times, are now grappling with entirely new models of work including app based working and shared platforms.

This quarter both Colombia and Spain discuss how the gig economy in their country has affected workers’ rights. Colombia has recognised that gig economy workers often fall through the net, and do not receive protection under social security law or labour law. New legislation is being introduced to give these workers minimum rights. In Spain, like many other jurisdictions, it is the judiciary who are addressing the issue of whether existing laws protect this category of workers enabling them to access statutory rights. A recent app based driver case determined that the individuals were self-employed, and therefore did not receive protection. Our Spanish colleagues also report that there have been a number of gig economy cases in the Spanish courts, with the total at the time of writing sitting at nine judgments in favour of self-employed status, and nine ruling that the individuals were employees.

And finally, the latest German development touches on a similar theme, of how the law should adapt to meet the needs of our changing workplace. As technology may lead to changes in skills requirements, do we want to make loyal and talented people redundant and hire new staff, or should employers move towards flexible resourcing models and retrain them?  To promote the professional education of employees, the German Qualification Opportunities Act will enable workers who are replaced by technology or digitalisation to adapt and develop their skills in order to better meet these challenges, with the state paying for either some or all of the costs of the retraining.  We believe this approach of moving from redundancy to retraining may become more widespread as technology diminishes the need for certain roles.

If you want to get in touch to find out more about a development in a particular country covered, or any other CMS jurisdiction, please speak to your usual CMS contact or e-mail [email protected].

The CMS Employment Team


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CMS On your radar | Issue 11
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