Portugal to force hot food/grocery delivery firms to formally employ riders

New legislation about to go before Portugal’s Parliament is set to force hot food and express grocery delivery companies to offer contracts and employment benefits to their riders.

The Portuguese government was approved to go before Parliament on Thursday last week, and is set to treat riders as employees not freelancers. With support of other left wing parties, it is likely to be approved by the Parliament.

Portugal is the latest country to offer these benefits, after a UK Supreme Court ruling over Uber drivers in February and earlier in summer, Spain ordering ultra-fast delivery companies to employ their couriers as staff. In addition, the European Commission has recently launched a public consultation to determine riders’ legal employment status and how to improve their working and employment conditions.

According to Portugal’s Labour Minister, Ana Mendes Godinho, the bill will assume that a worker is a member of staff wherever there is evidence of relationships between the platform, worker doing the deliveries and the end customer.

“Fighting precarious employment is one of our top priorities,” Godinho told a news conference.

She said that digital platforms will also have “the obligation to transparently inform the Work Conditions Authority, workers and their representatives, about the criteria of algorithms and artificial intelligence mechanisms used.”