Saturday 28 November 2020

Give clarity on gig economy workers, advisory body tells ministers

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The government needs to make sure the rules surrounding gig economy jobs for the likes of Deliveroo and Uber are clarified and properly adhered to, government advisory group SER says in a new report.

Although platform-based delivery, catering and taxi companies can be innovative, they should follow rules about what can and and cannot be done by freelancers, SER says. SER, made up of employer, union and lay members, is the most important government advisory body.

‘The status of gig economy workers, and freelancers in general, is unclear,’ SER says. ‘Many platforms use people as freelancers but it is unclear if that is what they actually are. SER recommends a speedy decision on this, and to intensify supervision by the tax office and labour market inspectors.’

Platform based agencies are increasingly popular with companies who don’t want to take on staff of their own, and are cheaper than traditional staffing agencies.

‘Platform workers who work on location, such as cleaners, drivers and in meal delivery, often have little security, low earnings and no rights to social security benefits such as unemployment benefit,’ SER said.

‘Platforms also often use algorithms to divide up and send out work, which can impact on the autonomy and privacy of platform workers. To improve this, Dutch and European legislation should better dovetail with each other.’

Court

Trade union federation FNV is currently taking meal delivery company Deliveroo to court for a second time, this time to demand a permanent contract for two delivery workers, and back pay.

In 2019, judges ruled that delivery workers were pseudo-freelancers and should be paid in line with the official pay and conditions agreement for the sector.

SER estimates that just 1% of the Dutch workforce works for platform based companies. At the same time, ‘platforms can distort the market because the rules that apply to other companies don’t apply to them,’ SER said.

The research shows seven in 10 gig economy workers are under the age of 35 and 66% supplement their earnings with other, paid jobs.

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