CANBERRA — A Senate investigation into the ‘gig economy’ has savaged services like Airtasker and Deliveroo, accusing them of ripping off workers and skirting vital laws around protection of employees.
The Federal Parliament’s Education and Employment References Committee released its report titled Corporate avoidance of the Fair Work Act 2009 last week, investigating how the Fair Work Act — the main laws which govern how employees and employers interact in Australia — was being applied Tuesday.
The report delves into the Fair Work Commission and Ombudsman, collective bargaining and enterprise agreements, labour hire and wage theft, with an entire chapter looking at the ‘gig economy’ of services like ride-sharing and food delivery apps.
These services, which include Uber, Airtasker and Deliveroo, largely treat workers as independent contractors instead of proper employees, meaning workers are often not covered by essential workplace protections such as insurance, superannuation, sick or holiday leave, or minimum hours or rates of pay.
Employers do not have to extend these entitlements to people who deliver their food or drive their cars, and indeed the worker themselves often bears costs of employment as the app takes a cut of that worker’s pay in the form of a ‘service fee’ for using the app — 20 percent in the case of Uber, 15 percent in the case of Airtasker, according to the Senate report.
“Restaurants who in the past may have employed a worker to deliver takeaway food can now shift the costs of employment onto the worker by engaging them as an independent contractor through Deliveroo or Foodora,” said a submission to the committee from Unions NSW.
“The FWA and governments have failed to keep pace with the inescapable challenges presented by technology, and urges policymakers to act without delay in ensuring that legal definitions of ’employee’ and ’employer’ are clarified so as to cover all workers,” the committee said… [click to read the full article]