Contractor Management in the Gig Economy

Uber has announced changes to its contract with Food Delivery Riders (FDR), to ensure that FDR’s are clearly independent contractors, and responsible for managing their own health and safety. While we might be concerned at exploitation of FDR’s (yes we have all seen them puffing away in the pouring rain), the law supports Uber’s position. In Kaiseris v Rasier Pacific V.O.F DEPUTY PRESIDENT GOSTENCNIK of the FWC said “the multi-factorial approach to distinguishing an employee from an independent contractor, developed and evolved at a time before the new “gig” or “sharing” economy. It may be that these notions are outmoded in some senses and are no longer reflective of our current economic circumstances. These notions take little or no account of revenue generation and revenue sharing as between participants, relative bargaining power, or the extent to which parties are captive of each other. Perhaps the law of employment will evolve to catch pace with the evolving nature of the digital economy. Perhaps the legislature will develop laws to refine traditional notions of employment or broaden protection to participants in the digital economy. But until then, the traditional available tests of employment will continue to be applied.”