YEAR 2021 N.º 2

ISSN 2182-9845

The legal-labour protection of service providers in the collaborative economy and labour platform cooperatives

Deolinda Meira / Tiago Pimenta Fernandes


Collaborative work platform; subordinate work provider; independent work provider; worker protection; labour platform cooperative.


This paper reflects on the disruptions that collaborative labour platforms introduce in the context of work relationships. The work providers are engaged as independent contractors and considered freelancers, allowing companies' owners of digital platforms to exonerate themselves from their responsibilities as employers. Labour platforms radicalise the practice of outsourcing. This phenomenon raises the relevant question of whether these providers should be considered dependent and subordinate workers or mere autonomous providers of the digital platform, in which case labour rules shall not apply, therefore leaving the provider less protected. The doctrine has pointed out the cooperative labour platforms as an alternative way to manage collaborative platforms and ensure work providers' protection. Labour cooperative platforms are organisations of an atypical business nature, collectively owned and democratically managed by their members.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Collaborative platforms
3. The legal qualification of the link between the provider and the collaborative platform 
3.1. Subordinate work versus autonomous work
3.2. The indicative method of article 12 of the Labour Code
3.3. Signs of legal subordination and autonomy in the collaborative economy
3.4. Para-subordinate work? 
3.5. Legal-labour framework of the provider
3.6. Law no. 45/2018 of 10 August
4. Labour platform cooperatives
4.1. Preliminary
4.2. Collective ownership and the democratic functioning of labour platform cooperatives 
4.3. The protection of the cooperator worker in labour platform cooperatives
4.4. Back to Law no. 45/2018 of 10 August
5. Conclusions
Bibliographical and case law references