Over the past years, the world of work has been undergoing transformative structural processes: New technologies, demographic shifts and economic models have heralded a host of complex and interrelated challenges that influence our societies as a whole. In order to cope with the rapidly changing world of work and the resulting challenges in a sustainable manner, the fellowship program “Labor and Social Security Laws” brings experts from various backgrounds to explore and discuss best-practices.
Employer Status and Liability in Multi-Party Employment Arrangements
Multi-party employment relationships, where workers are not directly employed by the company to which they provide their services, are variously referred to as triangular relationships, temporary agency work, outsourced employees, and labour sub-contracting (ILO, 2015). Such employment arrangements raise a myriad of questions and dilemmas pertaining to employer status and liabilities. Which legal formulas can be applied to determine the identity of the employer in triangular arrangements? What are some examples for time-limits on triangular work arrangements? What types of restrictions are there on such work relationships beyond the duration of the engagement? For example, the type of workplace or type of the position? Is there a distinction between a worker provided by a temporary work agency and a service providing company? Does the default setting define the worker as an employee of the contracted agency, or of the client, i.e. the de-facto employer supervising the worker? Can the default setting be changed throughout the engagement period? If so, under what circumstances? To what extent does supervising the execution of the project renders the client, i.e. the de-facto employer an employer de-jure? Are there any circumstances, under which the de-facto employer can be obligated to ensure workers’ rights, even though they are not the formal employer? For the sake of identifying the employer de-jure, is there a distinction between different industries?
The rapid spread of digitally enabled remote work challenges the existing legal framework, which is based on the assumption that the working environment is provided by the employer, who is responsible, among other things, for determining working time and providing the means of work. Given the increased prominence of remote work, questions concerning working hours and work-life balance arise: How does one clearly delineate the contour of a workday and extent of fulltime employment? What arrangements are made to maintain work-life balance? How is the use of technology (text messages, emails) with the purpose of engaging employees outside their official working hours treated under existing legal frameworks? Under what conditions does such “mixed” working time qualify for overtime pay? Are there any pre-existing legal frameworks to regulate remote work and have there been any changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic? How can payment for overtime be determined and how is it calculated in Europe? How is additional work and its compensation determined? What are some overtime rates compensation models that have been employed in the context of remote work? Are there any examples for such models in the case of employees, whose engagement is commission based? How are commissions addressed in the context of overtime? Finally, what are the key questions concerning employee privacy in the context of remote work and how are they addressed in Europe?
The program offers Fellows the opportunity to conduct research and exchange with peers from within an international setting. As part of the program, fellows are required to compose a discussion paper in their area of expertise.
February 20, 2023
To apply, please send your CV (up to 2 pages), a cover letter, a writing sample, and a short research proposal (2-3 pages) outlining how you would like to address the issue area of the program to firstname.lastname@example.org
In your cover letter, please indicate your preferred starting date.
All documents should be submitted in English.
Application deadline: February 27, 2023, early applications are encouraged.
Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.