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Labour law

2018

New York city officials passed the first US minimum pay rate for drivers who work for ride-hailing apps, including Uber, Lyft, Juno, Via and any other similar business model. Drivers are low paid, and the issue is related to the fact that they are independent contractors and not employees. Transportation sharing economies do not need to make sure that drivers earn the minimum wage. Having that in mind, the city council decided that drivers are entitled to make the equivalent of $17,22 an hour after expenses. The measure aims at increasing the quality of their lives. In New York, most drivers work full-time for ride-hailing apps and 18 percent of drivers have so low earnings that they qualify for food stamps. The new regulation attacks the core of transportation sharing economies, which relies on a large number of drivers to be available at any given time, meaning competition for rides is high and drivers must work long hours. The same regulation provides that out of town trips must include payment for returning; higher pay for drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles and prohibition on underpaying drivers on certain trips as part of incentive schemes

G20 leaders recognised that transformative technologies are expected to bring new and better jobs. Policy options for the future of work will draw on ‘harness technology to strengthen growth and productivity’; ‘support people during transitions and address distributional challenges’ and ‘secure tax systems’. The leaders remained committed to build an inclusive, fair and sustainable future of work by reskilling workers and recognising the importance of social dialogue in the area, including work delivered through digital platforms, aiming at labour formalisation and making social protection systems strong and portable. Access to education to enhance digital skills was underlined as a strategic policy area for the development of more inclusive, prosperous, and peaceful societies. To expand the benefits of digitalization, G20 nations will promote measures to boost micro, small and medium enterprises, bridge the divide and further digital inclusion. They will also improve digital government, digital infrastructure and measurement of the digital economy.

The sharing economy Take Eat Easy used an online platform to connect restaurants, users who wanted to order meals and riders to deliver food to the users of the platform. Since the beginning of Take Eat Easy operations, the riders developed their activity under the status of independent contractors. In 2016, a rider required to the conseil de prud’hommes to have its employment status recognised. His requirement was denied and he appealed to the Cour de Cassation, which overruled the decision by holding that (1) the system of geolocation allowing the real-time monitoring of the position of the rider (2) the control of the total number of kilometers rode by the riders and (3) the sanctions applied to the riders in some particular cases demonstrated that Take Eat Easy had powers of direction and control over its contractors. Direction and control are typical aspects of an employment relationship. The decision sets a precedent to all similar sharing economies in France.

The sharing economy food delivery company Foodora Australia was charged with misclassifying a rider as an independent contractor and deny him an employment status. The Australian Fair Work Commission ruled that the rider was not carrying on a trade or business of his own, or on his own behalf. Instead, the rider was working for Foodora, his work was integrated into the sharing economy business and was not an independent operation. Despite the attempt to create the existence of an independent contractor arrangement, the rider was engaged as a rider for Foodora and, therefore, was an employee. The company has admitted that their riders were more likely to be employees than independent contractors, and therefore are entitled to more than $5 million in unpaid wages. This precedent can impact the workforce classification in other gig economies around the world, including Uber Eats and Deliveroo. 

Representatives of ASEAN member States in charge of labour, education and industry, employers’ associations, ASEAN Trade Union Council and ASEAN Services Trade Union Council participated in the last Regional Conference on Reducing Youth Unemployment held in Jakarta. They shared their strategies to address the future of work including (a) Indonesia’s roadmap towards Industry Revolution 4.0; (b) Singapore’s Skills Future initiative to foster future oriented skills; (c) Philippines’ promotion of Technical and Vocational Education and Training. The future reduction of youth unemployment was related to the promotion of up-skilling and re-skilling opportunities; the implementation of functional labour market information systems and technical and vocational education and training in partnerships with industries.

 

 

The British government’s proposition encompasses (a) new regulations to provide workers in the gig economy the right to have a fixed-hours contract after 12 months of uninterrupted services; (b) reduction of extreme flexibility with the provision of notice periods and compensation for cancelled shifts; (c) extension of employment rights to self-employed gig economy workers; (d) paid time off to venerable workers. These proposed modifications were based on the recommendations for modern working practices published last year by the UK government. Currently, there are about 1.1 million workers in Britain’s gig economy.   

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