MINNS, MOOKHEY & COTSIS – MEDIA RELEASE – A MINNS LABOR GOVT WILL MODERNISE NSW LAW TO RESPOND TO THE RISE OF THE GIG ECONOMY
A MINNS LABOR GOVERNMENT WILL MODERNISE NSW LAW TO RESPOND TO THE RISE OF THE GIG ECONOMY
A Minns Labor Government is vowing to modernise New South Wales laws and respond to the rise of the ‘gig economy’ and precarious work by introducing worker’s compensation entitlements and a portable entitlement scheme for gig and other key New South Wales workers.
The proposals form the next planks of Labor’s long-term plan to rebuild the New South Wales economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
They follow the tragic deaths of four food-delivery riders who were killed on New South Wales roads in late 2020. All of their families fell prey to an out-of-date workers compensation system that denied them any type of statutory compensation because no gig platform chose to hire the riders as employees.
“Similar schemes have already been establish in Queensland and Victoria. They’ve also recognised the need for greater workers compensation protection for gig workers.”
The policies also respond to the rise of insecure and precarious work in the disability, community and home care sectors in New South Wales.
The Commonwealth government recently found that one-in-four disability workers quit to look for a new job every year – more than the three times the turnover of the rest of the health care and social assistance sectors. Most care workers on online platforms are also denied the leave an ordinary worker is entitled to accrue.
NSW Labor’s plan will see a Minns Government:
- Introduce a scheme that provides workers compensation benefits to gig platform workers akin to those currently provided to employees injured in New South Wales workplaces; and
- Create a portable entitlement scheme for gig, disability, home care and other precarious workers such as those in the community services sector that would allow all workers in these industries to accrue annual leave, long-service leave and other entitlements regardless of whether or not they are classified as employees; and
- Extend Chapter 6 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 to include gig workers in the transport industry like rideshare and food delivery workers as well as those engaged to deliver bread, milk and cream so they too have access to minimum rates and conditions; and
- Establish discrete and enforceable codes of conduct for WHS work performed by on-demand platforms in the rideshare, food delivery, parcel delivery and disability and home care sectors of the gig economy; and
- Review the grouping provisions of the Payroll Tax Act 2007 to ensure that on-demand platforms are not obtaining an advantage over other businesses who do not trade in the gig economy.
Labor will tap the expertise of Unions, gig platforms, the state’s major business groups, as well as academics and other independent experts to roll out its plan. They will assist with preparing any necessary legislation, as well as the industry education packages associated with the reforms. For the disability and community service sector, Labor will use the knowledge of disability community representatives and the sector’s peak employer bodies.
These initiatives build on the Select Inquiry into the Future of Work NSW Labor set up in the Legislative Council in 2019. The Perrottet government responded by saying they would introduce a workers compensation scheme for gig workers. But their promise vanished after it unleashed a wave of Cabinet leaks and infighting.
Labor Leader Chris Minns said:
“The rise of the gig economy has revolutionised the way people can access work. But that shouldn’t mean workers should be left more vulnerable.
“Every single worker in New South Wales has the right to feel safe and supported at work.
Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy Daniel Mookhey said
“Work has changed, but our laws have not.
“If we have another decade of drift, more New South Wales workers will come home injured. They will go without the support they need to go back to work.”
“We need to act. We need to modernise our laws so they suit how people are working today.”
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Workplace Safety, Sophie Cotsis said:
“After 12 years of this Liberal and National Government we have seen an erosion of basic rights and entitlements of a growing segment of the working population, particularly women in these key care sectors.
“For many have felt abandoned by this Government which has created employment insecurity and hardship and feel deprived of basic entitlements which affects their ability to get a loan, secure rental accommodation and support their families.
“NSW Labor’s policy provides security, dignity and acknowledges the significant contribution of these workers to our society.”