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Slater and Gordon is calling on the Federal Government to recognise industrial relations reform is needed nationally to support vulnerable food delivery and ride share workers in the gig economy.

Slater and Gordon Workers’ Compensation Practice Group Leader Jasmina Mackovic said the Federal Government’s budget had failed to address the exploitation of contactors locked into earning below the minimum wage and expected to work without benefits such as paid sick leave or access to workers’ compensation schemes in the gig economy.

“If jobs really were at the heart of this budget, the Federal Government would have addressed the insecure work arrangements and limited rights of food delivery and ride share workers in the gig economy,” Ms Mackovic said.

“There really should have been an acknowledgment of the gig economy industry in this budget through their planned funded programs and initiatives. This industry is a growing underpaid underclass of largely migrant workers, who cannot access the workers’ compensation safety net other workers can if injured or ill, because they are considered independent contractors and not employees.”

Ms Mackovic welcomed the Victorian Government’s move to re-classify food delivery riders and other gig economy workers from independent contractors to employees, and to work with the Federal Government on the issue.

“These new industry standards will provide better working conditions and pay as well as rights to workers’ compensation in the event of injury or illness,” Ms Mackovic said.

“If injured or ill on our roads, they currently have no other means of income or benefits to survive while they can’t work, no paid sick leave, and the majority cannot return to their home countries due to COVID-19.

“These workers deserve the minimum standards that every other worker in Australia has.”

Media Contact Anna Chisholm (03) 9602 8683/ 0437 801 093