The gig economy avoids regulations and workers pay the price
COVID-19 has ramped up the pressure on young workers to accept jobs in this unregulated gig economy. These young workers, more likely urban and male, with English as a second language, are vulnerable to the unregulated manner in which some of these unscrupulous businesses operate.
On-line platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo have designed their employment practices to avoid proper regulation of wages and conditions for this sizable percentage of the working population. The numbers are almost 1 million throughout Australia, including 236,800 Victorians.
Theses young workers are not classified as employees and therefore do not qualify for workplace entitlements, protections, and obligations. This unregulated system is failing young workers who have no leverage in this labour market, and virtually no capacity to have an input into the arrangements under which they accept work.
Former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James led a two-year investigation into Victoria’s gig economy as a consequence of concerns expressed about the treatment of on-demand workers.
According to the findings of the FWO the federal government is better placed to drive change as it is charged with the responsibility for the system of workplace laws, and changes need to be addressed.
With the arrival of COVID-19 the question has to be asked about advantages some of these businesses are taking with these workers who cannot afford to lose work and these companies know it.
What is needed from the federal government is a regulatory framework which would provide support for gig workers, securing them workplace entitlements and protection against unscrupulous employers.
Attorney-General Christian Porter has stated that “The evolution of the gig economy also presents challenges which the government is committed to addressing.
Ref: Bianca Hall, The Age.
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– Annie Young