As a follow-up to the Communication “A European Agenda for the Collaborative Economy” published in June 2016, the European Commission has been organising a series of workshops on the collaborative economy in the tourism accommodation sector. In cooperation with Member States and tourism stakeholders, the Commission intended to address and monitor the developments in the collaborative economy and to explore the measure taken by Member States with respect to: market access requirements for accommodation providers, requirements for platforms, consumer protection, trust and transparency mechanisms, taxation and employment.
The workshop on 5 July 2017 focused on employment and taxation. Kerstin Howald, EFFAT Tourism Secretary, addressed the impact of the collaborative economy in short-term accommodation rental on employment and the role of ancillary services, i.e. the services new platforms offer to hosts of, such as welcoming and seeing off guests, cleaning, etc. While EFFAT welcomes the Commission’s intention to establish a monitoring framework for the collaborative economy, coherent data still need to be collected on the employment aspects of the collaborative economy, e.g. consequences for existing jobs in the sector, and how many and what kind of new jobs are created.
Although creating new options for consumers, collaborative platforms are mostly taking a worrying turn towards unregulated practices, with an increasing number of service contracts and outsourcing, a drop in regular employment, the creation of informal jobs, a new shadow economy characterised by undeclared work, a lack of participation rights and unequally distributed obligations.
As expert invited at the workshop, EFFAT recapped its position and outlined a series of key measures that could contribute to limiting the negative impact of collaborative economy on employment, and to ensuring fair competition and a level playing field, as well as decent work and equal treatment for workers:
- obligatory registration of all hosts and users of short-term accommodations rentals, as a precondition for statistics, taxation, safety & security, urban planning, etc.
- more detailed data on impact of short-term accommodations rentals on employment
- strong labour and social protection legislation applicable to all workers and all types of work
- commitment of companies (platforms) and their national / European trade associations to provide information and to set and implement common rules
The ultimate goal of the workshops is to agree on a set of guiding policy principles to be taken into account when developing policies in the sector.