From Business Insider Australia, David Adams discusses a report that call for fundamental changes to the Australian gig economy. David writes:
- A landmark Senate inquiry has leveled 15 recommendations it hopes will make platform work safer and fairer for those participating in Australia’s gig economy.
- Regulators should crack down on “practices that incentivise unsafe behaviour,” the report states.
- Coalition members of the Senate Select Committee on Job Security opposed the interim report, calling it “partisan propoganda”.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
A landmark Senate inquiry says “fundamental” changes to Australia’s gig economy are required for insecure workers to participate safely, fairly, and with access to adequate workplace protections and compensation.The Senate Select Committee on Job Security released its interim report on Thursday, outlining 15 recommendations it hopes will clarify the employment status of Australia’s gig workers, capture the scope of Australia’s gig economy in official figures, and, crucially, improve the workplace safety and conditions of “vulnerable” workers.
The report arrives after months of heated debate over the workplace rights of gig economy workers and the rights platforms should afford them — heightened by the deaths of five delivery app riders on New South Wales roads in late 2020.
The Select Committee’s findings primarily relate to platform workers who engage with apps like Uber or Deliveroo for rideshare and food delivery tasks.
Those platforms have long maintained workers operate under an independent contractor model, and the report acknowledges many workers in this space appreciate the flexibility which gig work affords.
But unlike many independent contractors, platform workers are often “heavily-dependent on the employer, and may have little control over their work, or how much they earn,” the report notes.
This lack of security and clarity around the sector cascades into health and safety issues for many gig workers, according to the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU).
The report also found NSW’s Gig Economy Joint Taskforce — which this year and issued a new tranche of safety guidelines for platforms to follow, encouraging Uber to release new in-house safety checks — did not go far enough to address what the Senate inquiry sees as the root cause of those safety issues.
“The report does not address the safety implications of contracting arrangements, rates of pay, platform algorithms, or the issue of multi-apping,” the new report states.
As a result, the Select Committee has recommended that “as a matter of priority, Safe Work Australia develops meaningful, high-level guidelines on the application of the model Work Health and Safety Laws to the on-demand platform sector.”
“The guidance should be aimed at addressing practices that incentivise unsafe behaviour, as well as enforcing compliance with safety rules and obligations,” the report adds.
The report noted a lack of clarity around the employment status of workers in the gig economy has led to confusion over the rights and protections afforded to those who participate in the sector.
Read the full story at A Senate inquiry has called for ‘fundamental changes’ to the gig economy in Australia, with 15 recommendations it hopes will make platform work safer and fairer | Business Insider