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Why gig workers may be worse off after the Fair Work Ombudsman’s action against Foodora

4 12 21
14.06.2018

The way “gig workers” are paid and protected might be about to change, as a result of legal proceedings brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Ombudsman alleges that food-delivery platform Foodora underpaid three workers by A$1620.74, plus superannuation, in a four-week period.

The Ombudsman argues that while Foodora engaged these workers as independent contractors, they were in reality employees. If the action succeeds, it could be positive for the underpaid workers, but it could also drive down working conditions.

The food-delivery platforms have stated they would be willing to give their workers more benefits, such as training. But not at the cost of workers being classified as employees. If the Ombudsman’s case succeeds, it could cause gig platforms to offer fewer protections in order to ensure workers are classified as contractors.

This could not only disrupt the food-delivery sector, but have a broader impact on the gig economy, restaurants, customers and workers.

The difference between an employer and a contractor is significant. They fall under different laws, receive different protections and have different obligations.

If a contractor performs poor work they are legally liable for that. But an employer is responsible for the poor work of an employee.

In many cases this........

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