Deliveroo seeks changes to laws covering self-employed workers

Delivery group proposes ‘charter for secure and flexible work’ for on-demand economy

Delivery group Deliveroo is calling on the Government to amend legislation covering self-employed workers in the on-demand economy to allow companies to offer them benefits without making them employees.

Deliveroo made the submission to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, proposing a “charter for secure and flexible work” for self-employed contractors in the on-demand economy, saying it was a “unique opportunity” to modernise employment legislation.

Under this charter, companies would be able to offer benefits such as insurance or sick pay to workers without putting their self-employed status at risk, the company argued.

“The idea of this charter would be to codify and record best practices for how companies can legitimately work with self-employed contractors and what additional protections can be provided to contractors without the risk of those additional benefits affecting employment status,” the submission said.

"We believe these proposals would need to be put on a statutory footing and the upcoming proposals in Ireland provide an ideal opportunity to put this into effect."

Deliveroo’s Irish general manager urged the Government to follow the lead of France, which is pursuing a similar policy response.

"Deliveroo already offers all riders insurance to protect them if something goes wrong on the road, but we want to go even further," Michael Healy said.

“The charter model, which is being pursued by the French government, would be an innovative and bold way of enabling companies to offer self-employed contractors more security, as well as giving greater certainty to those who work in the on-demand economy.”

Deliveroo’s insurance covers riders if they are in accidents, and against third-party liabilities.

Greater protections

Earlier this year, the EU approved new rules for on-demand workers that would give those involved in the “gig economy” greater protections, laying down minimum rights for them. The new rules will cover those in casual or short-term employment if they work a minimum of three hours a week and 12 hours per four weeks on average.

However, Deliveroo said its workers did not fall under the scope of this directive as genuinely self-employed workers were not covered.

There has been a concerted pushback against the gig economy, with a number of cases coming before courts in various countries to help determine the status of people working for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. In London last year, the high court upheld an arbitration committee finding that a trade union cannot claim collective bargaining rights for Deliveroo riders, as they could – in theory at least – subcontract individual deliveries to other people.

Separately, Deliveroo said it was withdrawing from Germany, amid stiff competition for food-delivery services.

In emails to customers on Monday, the company said it would no longer be delivering in the country from August 16th.