Tuesday, 12 February 2019 12:43

Deliveroo wants ‘Future Work Act’ for on-demand economy

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Online food delivery and ordering business Deliveroo has called for legislation that would outline the relationship between on-demand economy platforms and independent contractors, in a move it says is designed to end the trade-off between flexibility and security for on-demand workers.

Deliveroo says the legislation — or The Future Work Act — which would be implemented at federal and state levels across Australia, is proposed in its submission to the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce.

According to Deliveroo, the legislation would enable on-demand platforms to offer riders benefits without compromising riders’ flexibility and self-employment status.

Deliveroo notes that its riders are self-employed and, as a result, have the flexibility to choose when, where and whether to work.

“Should Deliveroo offer riders benefits, under the current law there would be a risk that riders would be reclassified as employees and would lose the very flexibility they value,” the delivery company says.

Deliveroo notes that it has consistently argued, at a global level, that it wants to end the trade-off between flexibility and security so that self-employed riders should be able to receive benefits without this impacting their employment status.

And Deliveroo points out that other countries, such as France, are considering how these principles can be enshrined in legislation.

“Deliveroo argues Australia should join them in modernising the country’s statute book in line with modern work practices, which have outpaced the current regulatory framework,” the company says in a statement released on Tuesday.

“To examine future legislation in this area, Deliveroo proposes a Future of Work Commission to bring together all relevant stakeholders, including business, unions, government and, most importantly, on-demand workers themselves. Deliveroo advocates for a collaborative approach to policy-making and outlines that the starting point should be asking how companies can deliver on what riders want.”

On the proposed Future Work Act, Deliveroo’s submission argues: “Just as the Fair Work Act has been so important in providing a foundation of standards for the traditional workplace, an equivalent is now needed to build on this for modern ways of working. A Commonwealth ‘Future Work Act… could outline the relationship between platforms and contractors that ends the trade-off that currently exists in legislation between flexibility and security, giving those in the on-demand economy what they want, which is both. A ‘Future Work Act’ could set out the responsibilities companies have to contractors – the freedoms and flexibility that contractors can rely on as well as the security they can expect.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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