Gig workers win workers’ pay rights under NSW Labor election promise | gig economy

Uber delivery drivers and casual workers will be able to seek compensation for injury on the job and take job-to-job rights if Labor wins the New South Wales election.

New rights would make gig workers more resilient and make the work environment less precarious in general, the state opposition said on Sunday.

“The rise of the gig economy has revolutionized the way people can access work – but that shouldn’t mean workers should be left more vulnerable,” said Labor leader Chris Minns.

The plan would see the introduction of a worker’s compensation scheme for on-demand workers – similar to what other employees can already access.

Accompaniment, disability and home care workers would also have access to a portable rights scheme, allowing them to accumulate leave and rights within their sector, rather than through their employer.

The transferable rights would help prevent a planned exodus of disability sector workers from New South Wales, the Australian Services Union has said.

NSW union secretary Angus McFarland said the sector needed around 30,000 new workers over the next 12 months, but around 50 per cent of existing workers plan to quit over the next five years.

“A big source of their pain is losing their rights every time they change jobs, which tends to happen very regularly,” McFarland said.

The highly precarious 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 disabled workers leave their jobs each year, three times the turnover in other jobs in the health or social sector.

Labor’s proposals are a response to the rise of the gig economy and form part of a wider, long-term plan to rebuild NSW’s economy after it was ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic .

Rolling out the reforms will be aided by trade unions, the gig platforms themselves, business groups and academics.

Their announcement comes after seven food delivery drivers were killed on the roads in 2020, including Dede Fredy and Bijoy Paul, whose families have sought additional workers’ compensation.

Families received payout from Uber’s accidental death policy last year, but the Transport Workers Union argued in August that the cases demonstrated why workers’ compensation schemes needed reform .

The workers’ families were unable to access legal compensation because no gig platform had hired the riders as formal employees, Labor said.

Food deliverers are also denied access to minimum wage rates, sick and annual leave and superannuation in New South Wales.

“Labour has changed, but not our laws,” said shadow treasurer Daniel Mookhey.

” We need to act. We need to modernize our laws to match the way people work today.

The policy will also tackle an increase in precarious work in the disability, community and home care sectors in New South Wales.

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