The major players realise their model of “quasi” employment is a problem, and they are taking steps to solve these issues, but in many cases it is a fig leaf to the real issues.
Airtaskerâ€™s inclusion of personal accident insurance for all tasks booked through the platform is the type of self-regulation that goes in the right direction.
On the other hand, Deliverooâ€™s new app to “help” delivery riders put aside superannuation from their own money has been widely criticised, for good reason. It still doesnâ€™t provide superannuation for its riders in the same way as a regular employer.
While the steps taken by these firms are a start, they are not enough. Most Australians believe that government regulation of gig work is also necessary.
Gig economy firms have put quite a bit of effort into changing the regulatory environment, and often they just act as if the rules donâ€™t apply to them, so it seems unlikely that self-regulation will be enough.
We need to at least reconsider the now obsolete criteria used to distinguish contractors and employees. Gig economy workers in low-skill occupations fall between the cracks â€“ they combine the disadvantages of contractors and employees.
Ideally we need a completely new category that fits the requirements of the 21st century business environment.
Shifting public opinion, worker awareness and the potential for reputational damage have started to exert pressure on the industry, but more is needed.
We need to harness the benefits of the gig economy, such as increased flexibility and efficiency, without sacrificing our way of life.