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Call for federal regulator for Australia’s gig economy after sixth delivery rider death revealed | Australia news



A Senate inquiry has recommended the creation of a federal regulator for the gig economy as yet another death of a food delivery rider was revealed on Friday.

The inquiry has also recommended that the definition of “employee” should be expanded to include gig workers, and a low-cost tribunal should be created so poorly paid contractors could bring their cases before it.

The Senate’s select committee on job security issued its interim report on Thursday and made wide-ranging recommendations.

These also included that Safe Work Australia enhance its data collection of gig worker accidents and fatalities, and that the federal regulator should have the power to request data from companies such as Uber about its pay rates and hours worked by its contractors.

Food deliverers for companies such as UberEats and Deliveroo, and rideshare drivers for companies such as Uber, are not considered employees under Australian employment law. They are classed as independent contractors, meaning they are not entitled to a minimum wage, annual or sick leave, and some forms of compensation if they are hurt or killed while working.

Last year five food delivery riders died in Australia within two months, and a seperate New South Wales inquiry into the gig economy heard that riders made as little as $8 a trip, were being rushed to complete orders, and had their pay cut during the pandemic.

On Friday an ABC radio investigation revealed that another food delivery rider had been killed in 2020 but the death had not been reported at the time.

Burak Doğan, a 30-year-old student from Turkey, was hit and killed on 2 April 2020 in Sydney. According to the ABC’s Background Briefing program, his death was not reported as a workplace fatality because his last trip was cancelled 25 minutes before he was killed.

Doğan was still logged into the UberEats app when he was killed, the ABC reported. A review by SafeWork NSW said it was “unclear” whether he was working at the time.

Five other food delivery riders died in the second half of 2020: one death every 11 days between 27 September and 27 November.

On Friday the chair of the Senate committee, Labor’s Tony Sheldon, said the recommendations would have made delivery work safer and prevented deaths.

“If this legislation had been put in place prior to this, then [Doğan’s] death is very likely to not have happened,” he told Guardian Australia.

The committee’s recommendations would grant more rights to food deliverers, he said.

Independent contractors are not automatically covered by the same workplace compensation laws as employees, and the families of previous riders who had died told Guardian Australia they were facing financial ruin.

Doğan’s family told the ABC Uber had not paid them any compensation because the company’s private insurance policy only covers the time during a delivery, and 15 minutes after it is completed or cancelled. Doğan died 25 minutes after his trip was cancelled.

“Those families would not be destitute now if they had labour rights and workers’ compensation,” Sheldon said. “Labour rights mean you can still be a contractor and you can still have the right to a minimum wage.”

Recently food delivery company Menulog said it would abandon the independent contractor model and trial making “hundreds of workers” employees entitled to award wages and other protections.

“Companies like Menulog have said this is a better way to go,” Sheldon said. “The previous industrial relations minister, Christian Porter, said it was too complicated. Uber is the second largest number of workers in this country … and they have no minimum rights, no right to appeal dismissal, and arbitrary pay decisions. That’s not Australia.”

NSW Labor MP Daniel Mookhey, who chairs the NSW inquiry into the gig economy, welcomed the recommendations.

“This report makes clear the state has a role to play in modernising work health and safety laws as well as our workers compensation scheme … NSW has a lion’s share of delivery riders on our roads,” he said.

Mookhey and the Transport Workers’ Union want SafeWork to reassess Doğan’s death.

“How can any rider have confidence they are safe on our roads if SafeWork is unsure on what constitutes a workplace death?” Mookhey said. “Unfortunately it has taken another death to demonstrate the dire need for regulation. More deaths will occur without the government taking urgent action.”

Thursday’s interim report contained a dissenting report by Liberal and National senators on the committee. It said the process leading to the recommendations “has been a political farce” and was “a blatant attempt by Labor and Greens senators to discredit the success of the Morrison government’s broad management of workplace relations and to campaign for big government control of Australians in the workplace”.

Nationals senator Matthew Canavan and Liberal senator Ben Small wrote the report and said the recommendation of a national tribunal was “deeply reminiscent of the now thoroughly discredited road safety remuneration tribunal” and said the recommendation for a national portable leave scheme “would be a tax on jobs that would expand the rorting seen in state-based schemes to an unimaginable extent”.

Sheldon said the report showed Coalition was opposed to regulating the gig economy.

“To have the minority dissenting report from their senators, the National and Liberal parties are turning around and saying these workers don’t deserve the minimum wage,” he said. “It turns the clock back for every hardworking Australian … to the 1800s. That is actually what these laws do, by not giving them minimum rights.”

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Gig Apps Hustle for Top in Provider Rankings




Got a gig? No? Well, go and get one. The apps are there if the will is strong. 

Looking at PYMNTS’ latest Provider Ranking of Gig Apps, it appears that not only are gig workers gigging, but they’re also switching up platforms, seeking faster routes to better placements. 

That’s how it goes in the world of what some call a “side hustle” and others just call “work.” 

However one views it, gig apps are on the move — and that means we are too. 

The Top 5 

Taking it from the top, DoorDash keeps its seat at No. 1, having just inked a reseller pact with United Natural Foods to provide on-demand grocery delivery services to independent retailers. 

Uber Driver is catching up at No. 2, now testing a program in Brazil letting customers pay more for shorter delivery windows. Sounds promising. 

As is its custom these many months, Instacart Shopper sticks at No. 3, fresh from its acquisition of smart cart creator Caper AI. 

Here’s one of those changes we mentioned earlier. The Amazon Flex app gains a spot and moves up to No. 4 this cycle in another win for the diversified eCommerce titan. 

Down a spot to No. 5 (but staying in the Top 5 nevertheless) it’s the Fiverr app, which launched a subscription program for freelancers on the platform a few months back. 

The Top 10 

There’s no lift for the Lyft Driver app this time out as it stays put at No. 6 for another cycle.  

Somehow we don’t see Lyft staying out of the Top 5. Guess we’ll find out. 

The Upwork app keeps its gig as custodian of the No. 7 spot. No change there. 

Another shift to report, this time at No. 8, as the Freelancer app gains one chart position. It’s a good get for the Australian crowdsourcing marketplace website. 

Meanwhile, Grubhub for Drivers drops one chart position to No. 9 this cycle, as apps in this category deal with disruptions in major cities around food delivery under pandemic mandates. 

Rabbits run from predators — and some from hard work — but not TaskRabbit, keeping its cozy warren at No. 10 for another cycle of the Provider Ranking of Gig Apps 

That’s a wrap. Don’t gig too hard out there.    



About: Forty-seven percent of U.S. consumers are shying away from digital-only banks due to data security worries, despite significant interest in these services. In Digital Banking: The Brewing Battle For Where We Will Bank, PYMNTS surveyed over 2,200 consumers to reveal how digital-only banks can shore up privacy and security while offering convenient services to satisfy this unmet demand.

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This company is turning gig workers into gig economy shareholders




As gig economy companies like Uber continue to bring in more money and users, the rising tide has not lifted all boats.

In the last quarter, rideshare and food delivery companies raked in the revenue: Uber brought in nearly $4 billion; DoorDash accrued $1.24 billion; Just Eat Takeaway, which owns Grubhub, made $884 million; and Lyft generated $765 million. But where is that money going?

According to Matt Spoke, CEO of gig economy fintech provider Moves Financial, a lot of it is being spent on drivers, but not in the way you might think.

“[Gig companies] lose hundreds of millions of dollars just on the back of losing workers all the time, churning out of the gig economy,” Spoke told Modern Shipper.

With companies hemorrhaging money on drivers only to see them leave because they feel they aren’t being paid enough, neither gig employers nor gig workers are reaping the full potential benefits of the gig economy. Moves Financial wants to change that.

The company recently announced an initiative called The Moves Collective that will reward gig workers with shares of stock in the very companies they work for, aiming to give them greater leverage in their workplaces.

In addition to rewarding gig workers with a monetary benefit, Moves Financial will give them the power to influence the gig economy platforms they work for at their annual general meetings (AGMs).

“The premise of our business from the very beginning was to figure out how we can step into what seems like an increasingly hostile gig economy and try to find ways to rebalance the economic alignment that seems to be missing between the workers and the marketplaces that they work for,” Spoke explained.

An amplified voice

Spoke recognized a concerning trend among gig employers: low worker retention. Two years ago, when he founded Moves Financial, he noticed that gig workers had a shockingly high turnover rate — as high as 500% for some companies, compared to an average of 3.5% for employees in traditional workplaces.

Initially, Moves Financial was a personal finance platform for the gig economy, but as Spoke recounted, “The goal has always been to sort of evolve that towards something where we can actually meaningfully make a difference in the way that [gig workers are] viewed.”

As he sees it, the way to do that is by giving gig workers a tangible stake in their companies. Gig workers have been up in arms over what they describe as unfair working conditions, staging strikes and protests in order to get employers like Uber (NYSE: UBER), Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) and DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) to listen. Gig workers, who are classified as independent contractors under U.S. labor laws, are denied the protections extended to employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, such as a minimum wage.

Read: Instacart shoppers plan nationwide strike for Saturday

Read: What would a vehicle mileage tax mean for ride-share?

“Petitions and protests and walkouts are not necessarily the most effective way to get Uber to change their strategic priorities,” Spoke said. “But if you show up as a group of shareholders and serve the demands, as such, there’s a greater likelihood that these become priority issues.”

Despite protests, gig companies spent millions pushing forward the passage of California’s Proposition 22, which exempted rideshare companies in the state from AB5. That allowed them to continue to classify their workers as independent contractors and deny them the benefits of employee status.

Spoke said that although some companies like Uber and Lyft have seriously considered awarding stock to their workers, their independent contractor status has been a major impediment.

“If [Uber and Lyft] wanted to do more proactively for their workers, that would be used as ammunition against them to sort of write the case of why they’re acting and behaving like an employer,” he explained. “So if Uber started issuing stock to its drivers, they’d have a really hard time making the case that they are not employing these drivers.”

He also points out that the vast majority of gig workers spend their time on multiple apps, and gig employers may not want to award them stock if they also work for their competition. That’s why Moves Financial is doing it on their behalf — the goal is to help the companies by helping their workers, which would reduce turnover and put the companies on the path to profitability.

“If we can address some of the root issues of why the group is unhappy, then we expect that leads to a more loyal, durable, long-lasting workforce that Uber doesn’t have to spend money replacing every six months,” Spoke said.

Gig workers are making Moves

Right now, gig workers that have a Moves Financial profile, earn more than $500 and drive or deliver for Uber are eligible for the program’s soft release (the company is starting with just Uber as a test). But with the full release, which Spoke says will happen by January, all Moves Financial customers will be able to opt in and receive stock from other platforms.

In its current form, The Moves Collective has two main components. The first is a set of “tasks” that customers can complete in exchange for a reward denominated in company stock. For example, one task is to earn $5,000 on gig economy apps over 90 days, for which a user will be rewarded with $50 in Uber stock.

The second component is a brokerage account that holds the stock for the user. For every user of The Moves Collective, Moves Financial goes through the legal process of creating a brokerage account, which would give workers legal ownership over the stock and the ability to sell it or move it to a different account.

Spoke clarified that Moves Financial is not a trading company and that customers cannot use money in their bank account to buy stock. Rather, the initiative rewards the user with the shares for completing various tasks.

But the other, equally important component of The Moves Collective is a mechanism for communicating with gig company executives. According to Spoke, Moves Financial owns and is currently growing “significant stakes” in Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub (NASDAQ: GRUB), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) — which has its own gig worker platform, Amazon Flex — and Target (NYSE: TGT), which owns Shipt.

In doing so, Moves Financial gets a seat at the table — it can submit materials to gig companies’ AGMs as a shareholder.

“What we can then do, in the process of editing those materials, is we can inform our users and inform gig workers in general about the submissions that we’re doing,” Spoke explained. “And the proposals that we’re putting forward, the nature of the submissions that we will work on, will be informed by feedback.”

Spoke emphasized that The Moves Collective will not submit proxy materials on behalf of its gig service workers. Rather, Moves Financial will submit its own independent materials with input from its users and other gig workers. But eventually, Spoke envisions the workers themselves having a larger voice.

“All of a sudden, gig workers, in theory, as they earn their stock, can actually show up to AGMs, they can vote on issues. They’re not necessarily going to carry the heaviest weighted vote. But the very fact of showing up and having a voice changes the dynamic of the conversation pretty dramatically.

“‘One thousand Uber drivers protest in New York City by not driving one day’ is an interesting headline,” Spoke continued. “I think it’s a different headline when we say, ‘One thousand Uber shareholders are demanding change from their company.’”

That could redefine the gig employer-worker relationship.

“We’re really leaning into this idea that gig workers are going to be motivated to join a movement of similar people that live a similar lifestyle and earn their money in a similar way, and that as a group, we can start to influence the way the economy functions,” Spoke said. “The gig economy, to date, has just not had a coordinated group of gig workers speaking as a unified voice. And that’s what we’re trying to build.”

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Payfare to Integrate with Plaid to Enable Digital Financial Services for the Gig Economy




TORONTO–()–Payfare, Inc. (TSX: PAY), a leading fintech powering instant payout and digital banking solutions for the gig workforce, today announced it is integrating with Plaid, a data network powering the digital financial ecosystem.

Payfare powers faster, digital payments for some of the world’s largest on-demand platforms. In addition to instant access to earnings, its offerings also include full-service digital banking apps and payment cards with cash-back rewards and more.

Plaid enables consumers to connect financial accounts at over 11,000 institutions globally and more than 5,500 apps.

Payfare’s integration with Plaid will streamline onboarding for Payfare users by allowing them to swiftly and securely connect their account to the apps and services of their choosing. Payfare also plans to leverage its Plaid integration to enable new banking features and credit products that are currently under development for launch in early 2022.

“The expansion of our platform to include open banking is part of Payfare’s strategic growth plan to deliver new offerings to gig workers while opening up new revenue streams for the Company,” commented Marco Margiotta, CEO and Founding Partner of Payfare.

About Payfare (TSX:PAY)

Payfare is a global financial technology company powering digital banking and instant payment solutions for today’s gig workforce. Payfare partners with leading platforms and marketplaces, such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, to provide financial health for their workforce.

For further information please visit

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