Australian gig economy to be regulated?

Following on parts of Europe and the US, the Australian state of Victoria is publishing draft regulations for gig economy workers who work for firms like Uber and Deliveroo.

According to local media reports, the Victorian government has published 28 minimum standards including giving employees their pay rates in writing and offering an appeals process should they be removed from the platform.

Currently in Australia, gig workers have no minimum wage, sick leave or holiday pay. The new regulations follow a 2020 report on the gig economy for the Victorian government that showed many of the workers to be migrants, and who lacked bargaining power with the companies.

The new regulations call on companies to offer ‘fair and decent’ pay and conditions that the government says would be a minimum income of around AUD $20.33 an hour (£10.74). These draft standards are open for responses until the end of February.

“More than 100,000 Australians choose to earn with Uber, and they tell us flexibility is the number one reason Uber works for them,” an Uber spokeswoman said, citing company surveys.

“We want to work with governments to ensure independent work is quality work, while preserving the flexibility and autonomy drivers and delivery people value.”

Though a set of regulations being proposed by just one state in Australia, the move by Victoria is likely to put pressure on other states and the federal government to follow suit. Restaurant and grocery delivery companies as such cannot ignore this move as it is likely to lead to wholesale changes in the way gig economy workers are treated by their platforms in the coming year or so. Deliveroo in particular has been known to pull its operations out of countries that regulate – this again could change the ecosystem locally.

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