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HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Platform Economics

Online platforms under pressure to pay social security contributions

German statutory accident insurance ‘Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung’ (DGUV) has called for Airbnb, Uber, and co. to start paying social security contributions, just like other employers, looking to France as a model.

17 Jan. 2018
Dirk Bongardt
HMI-ID01-018db
Online platforms under pressure to pay social security contributions (Foto: Business of Apps)

Providers of click and crowdworking can easily circumvent protection provisions for conventional workers, and thereby engage in price dumping, for example, by depriving workers of social security contributions, reports German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . The DGUV is therefore calling for new rules: Platform operators should start paying accident, pension, or health insurance contributions. AS DGUV Director General Joachim Breuer told the newspaper, the DGUV alone misses out on approximately €1 billion per year in premiums because platform operators exploit their business model to “dodge” the status of employer. And crowdworkers are not insured if they have an accident.

Member of the board of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) Annelie Buntenbach also believes that it is in particular the self-employed in precarious situations, as well as click and crowdworkers who need the protection social insurance offers. On a building site, for example, health and safety standards must be binding for all. Breuer looks to France, where, following a change in law, the labor code now also recognizes the concept of “employees who use an electronic exchange platform”. For this group of people, operators need to record and report tax and social security data and pay contributions, regardless of the location of the company.

Tradesman portal MyHammer has been quick to criticize the proposal . CEO Claudia Frese told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that totally different business models were all being lumped together in the debate. She stated that there are platforms like Uber that determine the price of the mediated service and act as the end customer’s contract partner. And then there are others, like MyHammer, that merely act as an agent in a contractual relationship between provider and customer. Frese finds the idea that agents could be subject to social contribution payments “baffling”.

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