Food delivery workers concerned for their own safety

Two thirds (65 per cent) of food delivery workers are concerned about their safety when working, according to Slater and Gordon research conducted by Kantar Australia.

Motorcyclists are the most concerned, with 84 per cent worried about their own safety while 71 per cent of cyclists said the same.

Slater and Gordon Practice Group Leader Jasmina Mackovic said the NSW Government’s Taskforce into Food Delivery Worker Deaths had been slow to act on the dangerous pressures workers continue to face.

“The NSW Government appears to be appeasing the needs of big global companies who are doing the bare minimum for their workers. The taskforce should be doing more to get these apps to address their dangerous algorithms and unrealistic delivery schedules which will continue to put gig economy workers at risk if nothing changes,” Ms Mackovic said.

“These apps have not ‘led the way’ by providing limited insurance for some certain accidents and injuries by any means, as one major app has recently claimed. Some of the benefits provided by these apps are piecemeal and a knee-jerk reaction to negative publicity.”

Ms Mackovic said Menulog’s trial to reclassify Sydney riders and provide them with minimum wage and superannuation contributions was a step in the right direction.

“There are still too many loopholes in state and federal laws that allow gig economy companies to label these workers as independent contractors and avoid their responsibilities to adequately protect them. These workers should receive the same benefits that other employees around Australia are entitled to,” Ms Mackovic said.

The survey, completed by 250 ride share and food delivery workers across Australia, also revealed:

  • 59 per cent of food delivery riders said they were worried about injuring themselves or becoming ill as a result of the work they do.
  • 77 per cent of motorcyclists said they were worried about injuring themselves or becoming ill.
  • 67 per cent of cyclists said the same.

Ms Mackovic said workers on bicycles and motorcycles completing Australia’s food deliveries were some of the most vulnerable road users.

“It’s no surprise that these workers do not feel safe. Imagine getting up and going to work every day not sure if you will be safe or guaranteed to come home to family and friends free of injury,” Ms Mackovic said.

“What’s even more concerning is that these gig economy workers are not guaranteed workers’ compensation insurance cover because they are not deemed to be employees and most of their employers do no pay insurance premiums like other employers have to. This means if they are injured or ill during the course of their work, they may not be eligible for a workers’ compensation injury claim.

“It’s likely they will miss out on loss of wages payments, be out of pocket for medical costs and treatment and will not be eligible for time off work to recover. While some of the apps employing these workers offer about 30 days’ worth of insurance, it is not much if you are severely injured, you require surgery and months of rehabilitation and treatment.”

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