By Meg Hill
In November last year, food delivery drivers working for platforms like UberEats in the CBD were targeted in a Victoria Police traffic operation. Two hundred infringement notices were issued, with at least a quarter of offences relating to delivery bike users.
A state government report into Victoria’s “gig economy” workforce is due by March 31. As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic it will likely be delayed.
But social distancing and self-isolation has already made us even more reliant on gig-workers. As we go out less, and businesses begin to close public areas, there may still be many delivery riders out on our streets bringing us our food.
In 2018, when the state government commissioned an inquiry into the workforce, its background report estimated that about 80,000 people in Australia earned income through “peer-to-peer” platforms like Uber, UberEats and Deliveroo.
But there is a lack of certainty from legal professionals and government regarding the status and rights of workers across the “gig economy”.
Associate professor at the University of Melbourne Alysia Blackham said Australia needed to ensure our laws were protecting those workers.
“The issues relate to how well our laws extend to people who don’t fit our traditional idea of an employee,” she said.
“The way many platforms have been set up is to say the relationship is not between the platform and the Deliveroo rider, but between the consumer and the rider.”
“Platforms are trying to take themselves out of the equation and limit their responsibility.”
This potentially means if a rider causes an accident, they would be held personally responsible, even if it’s caused by poor training and conditions. Conversely, if a rider has a problem with their employment, it is hard for them to prove they have a relationship with the platform, not the consumer.
When booked for infringements, riders are held responsible as individuals. Riders that were issued infringements in last year’s police operation told The Age their fine amounted to their entire day’s wage.
The government’s 2018 report said it was difficult for these workers to earn “sufficient and fair remuneration” – many earning under the minimum wage.
“On-demand platforms allow employers to select at will from a pool of workers who often rely on positive ratings for continued work,” the report stated.
The report went on to state those factors contributed to “workers accepting low wages and inferior conditions”.
Furthermore, vulnerable workers from a range of demographics were overrepresented in these precarious forms of work, including many young workers, visa holders and women.
Many of the pressures felt by delivery riders, on top of their precarious and vulnerable starting point, may push them to sacrifice safety and road rules. They are often rated on the speed of their deliveries and need to use their mobiles to accept new jobs quickly.
And it is unclear whether or not there is proper training and information given to riders, who often use electric driven bikes or scooters.
Associate professor Blackham said the issue was about a safe system of work.
“It all comes back to the question of safe systems of work and if there is a way to do the job safely while meeting the platform requirements. We need greater transparency around how these platforms are operating,” she said.
“There are a lot of incentives built into these jobs that don’t encourage safe behaviour, and employers have a duty to not only their employees and contractors, but to other people in the community.”
“And the question comes back to enforcement, too. How do you make sure platforms are meeting their requirements, and how do you make sure workers are able to pursue their rights?” •
New Report Shows U.S. Gig Workers Hit Hard by COVID-19 with Nearly 3 out of 5 Now Earning Less than $1,000 per Month | 2020-10-22 | Press Releases
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. , Oct. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Flourish , a global venture capital firm focused on early-stage fintech investments that enhance financial health, today unveiled The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure , United States Spotlight . The report is based on surveys of 700 gig workers across five cities: Atlanta , Chicago , New York , Philadelphia , and San Francisco.
The United States Spotlight is fifth in a series of Flourish’s year-long global study of more than 3,000 gig workers from Brazil , India , Indonesia , South Africa and the U.S., all countries with some of the largest and fastest-growing gig economies. In August 2020 , Flourish partnered with digital worker platform company Steady to better understand how U.S. gig workers’ financial lives were impacted and their hopes and concerns for the future.
Gig workers in the U.S., employed in service roles, such as e-hailing and delivery, were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 68% reporting a decline in total income. Nearly 3 out of 5 workers earned less than $1,000 per month, compared to 1 in 5 before the lockdown. A majority of U.S. respondents – 89% – were concerned about COVID-19, and at the time of the survey, respondents were most worried about the impact to their livelihoods, although health risks were also a meaningful concern.
“With the onset of COVID-19 and the accompanying economic fallout, our research found that the majority of workers in the digital gig economy are living on the edge, piecing together temporary and inconsistent work and struggling to make ends meet,” explained Emmalyn Shaw , managing partner at Flourish. “The pandemic and ensuing economic dislocation significantly impacted this population and highlighted their limited financial resilience.”
Steady CEO Adam Roseman said, “As COVID-19 continues to redefine nearly every aspect of daily life, earning a stable income is much harder to achieve for tens of millions of hourly and gig workers. Consistent and coordinated government and private-sector support will be needed.”
Black and Latinx Communities Disproportionately Impacted
Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported that if they lost their main source of income, they could not cover household expenses for a month without borrowing money. Black and Latinx communities were disproportionately impacted by the crisis, evidenced by respondents’ high levels of concern and the heavier burden of supporting additional financial dependents. Black workers were hit the hardest financially, with 61% now earning less than $1,000 per month.
Worker Sentiment and Financial Impact Vary by City
The United States Spotlight reveals that worker sentiment and financial impact varied meaningfully by city, depending on the regional course of the pandemic . In Atlanta , Chicago , and Philadelphia , more than half of the workers reported a large fall in income, while San Francisco workers, who also reported a large income decline, indicated a somewhat more positive outlook. In New York , workers reported less economic hardship and lower levels of concern.
Yet, U.S. gig workers showed signs of grit and resilience as they coped with the economic impact of the crisis:
- 63% used savings and 55% borrowed money, combining loans from multiple sources, with a heavy reliance on friends and family.
- 39% found new or additional work, with over a third of new work coming from online or app-based platforms.
- Of the 62% who reduced consumption, half cut back on food.
Some Relief with Financial Aid
In the U.S., government relief payments through the CARES Act were a lifeline for many.
- 77% of respondents received financial aid through the CARES Act, and while still struggling, these recipients had stronger financial resilience, less decline in quality of life, and a greater sense of hope.
- More than half of respondents applied for unemployment benefits since the crisis began, although most struggled to navigate the application process. For most, finding work with better pay is their top financial goal.
To read the full United States Spotlight report, visit: https://flourishventures.com/perspectives/the-digital-hustle-gig-worker-financial-lives-under-pressure-us-spotlight-2020/
“The important role that gig workers play in our society cannot be overemphasized,” said Shaw. “As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of the current crisis, financial institutions, fintechs, and policymakers have an opportunity to learn from our most vulnerable workers and identify financial services that will help them survive this crisis and thrive in the future.”
Flourish is a global venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs whose innovations advance financial health and prosperity for individuals and small businesses. Our global fintech portfolio includes more than 60 high-growth companies offering a range of leading-edge financial services including, in the U.S., challenger bank Chime, gig worker platform Steady, next-gen home insurance company Kin, and FreshEBT, an app for SNAP recipients, among many others. We partner with industry thought leaders in research, policy, and regulation to better understand the underserved and help foster a fair and more inclusive economy. Visit us at flourishventures.com or join our community through Twitter , LinkedIn or Facebook .
View original content to download multimedia: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-report-shows-us-gig-workers-hit-hard-by-covid-19-with-nearly-3-out-of-5-now-earning-less-than-1-000-per-month-301157657.html
SOURCE Flourish Ventures
Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market 2020 | COVID -19 Impact Research Report With Top Key Players
The Global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market report mainly studies the size, recent trends and development status of the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy market, as well as investment opportunities, government policy, market dynamics (drivers, restraints, opportunities), supply chain and competitive landscape. Technological innovation and advancement will further optimize the performance of the product, making it more widely used in downstream applications. Moreover, Porter’s Five Forces Analysis (potential entrants, suppliers, substitutes, buyers, industry competitors) provides crucial information for knowing the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy market. The Gig Economy And Sharing Economy research report study the market size, Gig Economy And Sharing Economy industry share, key drivers for growth, major segments, and CAGR. Then it analyzed the world’s main region market conditions, including the product price, profit, capacity, production, supply, demand and market growth rate and forecast etc.
Key players in the global Gig Economy and Sharing Economy market are:
On the basis of types, the Gig Economy and Sharing Economy market from 2015 to 2026 is primarily split into:
On the basis of applications, the Gig Economy and Sharing Economy market from 2015 to 2026 covers:
Shared private car
Shared private residence
The report further covers the significant performance of robust Gig Economy And Sharing Economy companies including their research activities, Product innovations, developments, technology adoptions, and brand promotions. The activities are performed in order to captivate the maximum numbers of potential buyers and offer better fit products in the market. Their strategic acquisitions, mergers, ventures, and partnerships are also examined in the report to help clients build their own strategies for their Gig Economy And Sharing Economy businesses.
Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market: Regional analysis includes:
- Asia-Pacific (Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Australia)
- Europe (Turkey, Germany, Russia UK, Italy, France, etc.)
- North America (the United States, Mexico, and Canada.)
- South America (Brazil etc.)
- The Middle East and Africa (GCC Countries and Egypt.)
Major Points Covered in TOC:
- Overview: Along with a broad overview of the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market, this section gives an overview of the report to give an idea about the nature and contents of the research study.
- Analysis on Strategies of Leading Players: Market players can use this analysis to gain competitive advantage over their competitors in the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market.
- Study on Key Market Trends: This section of the report offers deeper analysis of latest and future trends of the market.
- Market Forecasts: Buyers of the report will have access to accurate and validated estimates of the total market size in terms of value and volume. The report also provides consumption, production, sales, and other forecasts for the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market.
- Regional Growth Analysis: All major regions and countries have been covered Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market report. The regional analysis will help market players to tap into unexplored regional markets, prepare specific strategies for target regions, and compare the growth of all regional markets.
- Segment Analysis: The report provides accurate and reliable forecasts of the market share of important segments of the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market. Market participants can use this analysis to make strategic investments in key growth pockets of the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market.
Key Questions Answered in the Report Include:
- What will the market size and the growth rate be in 2025?
- What are the key factors driving the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
- What are the key market trends impacting the growth of the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
- What are the challenges to market growth?
- Who are the key vendors in the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
- What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
- Trending factors influencing the market shares of the Americas, APAC, Europe, and MEA.
- What are the key outcomes of the five forces analysis of the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
A free report data (as a form of Excel Datasheet) will also be provided upon request along with a new purchase.
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Note: In order to provide more accurate market forecast, all our reports will be updated before delivery by considering the impact of COVID-19.
On the job but unprotected — why European welfare is failing gig workers – POLITICO
This article is part of a special report, The Essential Tech Worker.
When gig economy platforms arrived in Europe a decade ago, observers predicted that they would either blow up the welfare state — or get smothered by it.
In many ways, both prophecies have come to pass.
For thousands of Uber drivers, delivery riders, babysitters and other denizens of the “gig economy,” what was originally meant to be a side hustle has turned into a de facto job representing their sole source of income — ushering in a new generation of workers whose jobs are far more precarious than those of their peers in traditional employment. Meanwhile, European countries that uphold their welfare systems with pride are still struggling to figure out how to bring this new type of worker into the fold.
One reason they’re having a hard time is that current labor laws are premised on a binary either-or definition: A worker is either an employee, or they are not.
Regulators are stuck in a bind. Attempts to protect workers who appear to be self-employed but in reality depend on a single company for their livelihood have fallen flat or run into legal obstacles. In London, for example, Uber has been stuck in a tortuous legal process since 2015 trying to overturn a court decision that ruled drivers should be classified as workers instead of self-employed people.
The companies themselves have proposed a compromise, a “third way,” that would grant workers some social protections but maintain their independent status.
So far, their attempts have ended in failure. France flirted with a voluntary charter for gig workers that would maintain their independent status but provide some social rights. That initiative was quickly struck down by the country’s Constitutional Council as “unconstitutional,” because it gave platforms the power to fix rules that legislators should have.
Last September in Italy, food-delivery companies unveiled a collective agreement with a far-right union that would establish workers as independent contractors. The agreement caused outcry among workers, unions and the country’s labor ministry, who deemed it invalid and against Italian labor law.
Collective agreements are also tricky — the first one between a union and Danish domestic work platform Hilfr was struck down by Danish competition authorities.
California — the birthplace of the gig economy — has tried to atone for its creation with a new bill, dubbed AB5, that forced companies such as Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees. The ride-hailing companies are embroiled in an expensive lobbying battle against the law.
One European court after another has looked at the evidence and reached the same conclusion: Any pretense that workers are independent is “fictitious,” in the words of France’s highest court in a ruling regarding Uber drivers.
A U.K. Supreme Court decision on the same issue is imminent. Courts in Spain and Italy have reached similar rulings with respect to other gig work platforms. One of the main arguments courts have highlighted is the level of algorithmic control platforms have over workers. The algorithm decides when and how workers work, and how much their work is worth.
Platforms say workers want their autonomy and flexibility, which is incompatible with employee status. That status could also be the end of their business. Uber, for example, has never made a profit, and likely never will if it has to pay its drivers and couriers social benefits. The outcome of California’s AB5 fight will show how resilient the platforms’ business models truly are.
The European Commission has pledged to improve the working conditions of gig workers. So far the Commission’s only suggestion has been to tweak competition rules to allow for bargaining rights for gig workers.
The seeming incompatibility between traditional employee protections and platform-based business models has opened room for proposals that could blow up the way we think about the relationship between workers and the companies that sign their paychecks.
Two leading legal scholars on labor law, Nicola Countouris, of University College London, and Valerio De Stefano, of KU Leuven, have suggested redefining the definition of workers and offering employment protections to anyone who works for a client or another person, and doesn’t hire other people or employ significant materials or capital.
This would catch Uber drivers and Deliveroo couriers, and also protect workers in other fields that are starting to normalize the use of algorithmic control, such as the care and retail sectors.
There are some early signs of movement in this direction. All eyes will be on Italy, which in 2019 passed a law giving couriers basic protections including sick leave and social security while still categorizing them as autonomous workers.
Even as the coronavirus rages on, the European welfare system still hasn’t figured out how to embrace gig workers. At stake is not just home delivery and on-demand rides, but the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of ever-more essential workers.
This article is part of POLITICO’s premium Tech policy coverage: Pro Technology. Our expert journalism and suite of policy intelligence tools allow you to seamlessly search, track and understand the developments and stakeholders shaping EU Tech policy and driving decisions impacting your industry. Email [email protected] with the code ‘TECH’ for a complimentary trial.
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