Delivery firm Deliveroo is calling on the Government to update legislation to give self-employed people greater security while maintaining the flexibility they want.
The firm said current employment law prevents companies from extending some of the entitlements that are open to “workers” without calling into question the status of its riders, who are classed as self-employed.
In evidence to a review by Matthew Taylor into the gig economy, Deliveroo said extending entitlements under the current law would undermine the flexibility that comes with riders being able to log in and log off at will, where they are paid according to work, not hours completed.
If riders were reclassified, they would be required to work in compulsory sessions arranged with Deliveroo in advance and to work exclusively for the company during those sessions.
Deliveroo is calling for a change in employment law that would allow it to offer new benefits to its riders, such as sick pay, insurance or shares for longstanding riders, describing it as a significant shift in UK employment practices.
Chief executive Will Shu said: “When I founded Deliveroo four years ago, I was the only rider delivering to customers all over London.
“I still do deliveries every week so I know better than anyone the hard work thatDeliveroo riders put in every day. It’s only right that they’re given the security they deserve whilst keeping the flexibility that they value.
“The on–demand economy has changed the way people work and live. We want an environment in which both workers and businesses benefit from the opportunities these changes provide.”
Mr Taylor’s review is expected to be published this week.
Maria Ludkin, legal director of the GMB union, said: “The only people who think the law is out of date are the companies like Deliveroo, who are trying to subvert the law and exploit workers.
“The law, when properly enforced, does the job of ensuring working people are paid national minimum wage and given the most basic employment rights.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This reads like special pleading. There’s nothing stopping Deliveroo from paying their workforce the minimum wage and guaranteeing them basic rights like holiday and sick pay.
“Plenty of employers are able to provide genuine flexibility and security for their workforce. Deliveroo have no excuse for not following suit.
“The company’s reluctance to offer benefits now is because they want to dodge wider employment and tax obligations by labelling staff as self-employed.”