Uber delivery drivers and part-time workers will be able to claim compensation for work-related injuries and be entitled to work-to-work benefits if Labor wins the NSW election.
The new rights will make gig workers more sustainable and the working environment in general less volatile, the state opposition said on Sunday.
“The rise of the gig economy has revolutionized the way people can get work, but that doesn’t mean workers have to be more vulnerable,” said leader Chris Means.
The plan calls for a compensation scheme for gig workers similar to what other workers can already access.
Gig, disabled and home care workers will also have access to a portable entitlement scheme, allowing them to accrue leave and entitlements within their own sector rather than through their employer.
NSW Labor Leader Chris Means. Uber delivery drivers and part-time workers will be able to claim compensation for work-related injuries and be entitled to work-to-work benefits if Labor wins the NSW election. Source: AAP
Portable rights will help prevent a projected exodus of workers from the NSW disability sector, the Australian Service Workers Union has said.
NSW Secretary of State Angus McFarland said the sector needed about 30,000 new workers in the next 12 months, but about 50 per cent of the existing workforce was set to leave in the next five years.
“A big cause of their pain is losing rights every time they change jobs, which tends to happen very regularly,” he said.
The very casual nature of the disability sector meant that support workers often held multiple jobs and combined casual and part-time work.
According to the federal government, one in four workers with a disability leave the workforce every year – three times the turnover rate in other health or social care sectors.
Labor says its proposals are a response to the growth of the gig economy and part of a wider, long-term plan to rebuild the New South Wales economy after it was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trade unions, the concert platforms themselves, business groups and scientists will help in carrying out the reforms.
The new rights will make gig work more sustainable and the overall working environment less volatile, NSW Labor says. Source: AAP / Mikael Buck / Image PR
Their message comes after seven food delivery drivers died on the roads in 2020. whose families demanded additional workers’ compensation benefits.
Last year, the families received a payout under Uber’s accidental death policy, but the drivers’ union argued in August that the cases showed why workers’ compensation schemes needed reform.
“This will not only mean a fairer and more equal system for gig workers – it will save lives on our roads,” the NSW union secretary said on Sunday.
The families were unable to obtain legal compensation because no concert platform employed the riders as official employees, Labor said.
Yaviz Cikar, whose nephew Burak Dogan died in 2020, said the family had been denied compensation.
“There are no funds to cover such a loss for the family, the only thing we care about is justice,” he told reporters.
“Finally we’re seeing some movement from Labor … we’re looking forward to it.”
Food delivery drivers are also denied access to minimum rates of pay, sick leave and annual leave, and seniority pensions in NSW.
“Work has changed, but our laws haven’t,” said Treasury spokesman Daniel Muhi.
“We need to act. We need to modernize our laws to match the way people work today.”
The policy will also address the growth of unsafe work in the disability, community and home care sectors in NSW.
The announcement came in Victoria earlier this year, which became the first state to offer casual and contract workers in some industries .
Under the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee — a two-year pilot program — workers eligible for the rights will be paid the national minimum wage, which is currently $21.38 an hour.