The Promise of Platform Work

Companies operating digital platforms for individuals to hire out their skills and labour to businesses or consumers, such as Uber and Upwork, have experienced rapid growth in recent years and disrupted a range of sectors. Such “digital work/services platforms” range from ride-hailing to professional services. They are making available affordable services to consumers and offering companies and clients greater opportunities to access talent with the skills they need. These platforms are also providing flexible opportunities for earning income, helping many platform workers to achieve economic security and greater control over their working hours, develop skills and enjoy their work.

However, the rapid adoption of technology, innovation in business models and the diverse ways in which people work through platforms pose challenges for the rules and laws governing work. There is also ongoing debate on benefits and social protections for platform workers. Failure to find solutions to ensure good platform work would risk undermining the platform economy’s potential to grow responsibly and make an increasingly positive contribution in the new economy.

This project aims to work with a community of platform companies and other stakeholders to: 1) provide a tool for better understanding the platform workforce: a mapping of digital work/service platforms and platform work; 2) define and agree a charter of principles for good platform work that will provide strong standards for the sector and accompanying examples of best practice; 3) explore how in practical terms standards for good platform work can be implemented.

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