The Australian food delivery giant, DoorDash, has issued a stark warning regarding the potential repercussions of the Albanese government’s legislation aimed at establishing minimum pay and conditions for gig workers. According to DoorDash, in a worst-case scenario analysis, the average cost of food delivery for families could increase by over 260%.
This assessment significantly exceeds the “conservative” estimate of an 85% price increase by UberEats, which was based on minimums such as transport award’s casual rates, penalty rates, superannuation, and reimbursement of expenses.
Rebecca Burrows, the General Manager of DoorDash Australia, emphasized the company’s commitment to ensuring gig workers have minimum standards that don’t compromise the unique benefits of this form of work. She stated that the current bill falls short of promises made to both platforms and workers.
Under the government’s proposed bill, the Fair Work Commission would have the authority to set minimum pay and conditions for gig workers deemed “employee-like.” Comparable awards would be referenced in making these determinations, with safeguards in place to protect workers’ flexibility.
However, DoorDash argues that these safeguards are not specific enough and claim that “the sky is effectively the limit” on conditions. The company predicts that the resulting operating costs could have unsustainable effects on businesses and consumers.
DoorDash’s submission suggests that the Fair Work Commission should only be allowed to set minimum pay, insurance, portable leave, and payment times. References to employment should be removed, and specific conditions, such as penalty rates, online time, and minimum engagements, should be prohibited.
Nick McIntosh, National Assistant Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, argues that the ongoing debate centers on the specifics of what these standards would look like. He maintains that the objective of the reform is to make transport safe, fair, and viable.
While the government has stated that the gig worker laws would lead to a “modest pass-through” in prices, many believe it’s a small price to pay for ensuring standards for the lowest-paid workers. The exact outcome will depend on the Fair Work Commission’s final determinations after considering input from relevant parties.
In a rapidly evolving gig economy, these developments highlight the ongoing challenge of balancing the rights and protections of workers with the sustainability of gig platforms and the affordability of services for consumers.