Legislate to protect workers in the gig economy

Every worker deserves to be paid fairly for the work they do, to be able to take holidays with family and get sick pay when they cannot work due to ill health.

While most people take these things for granted, a large and growing number of our friends and neighbours work in arrangements where they do not get these benefits.

A NSW Labor Government will create a new Chapter in the IR Act that defines ‘gig’ workers, defines the ‘platforms’ or ‘networks’ through which work is provided, and gives the IRC the power to make orders providing minimum rates of pay and ensuring those gig workers receive the same entitlement to superannuation, annual holidays, sick leave, and all the other benefits that employees are legally entitled to.

This will involve having a list of existing platforms/networks which can be added to, as well as a definition in the legislation so the independent umpire can make orders for new and emerging business models as they arise.

We will also clarify that gig workers are legally entitled to workers’ compensation when injured and that the platforms/networks pay their fair share in insurance premiums like employers do.

While the legal rights of these workers are being tested in courts in Europe, Britain[1] and the USA[2], it is with mixed results, and there is much uncertainty. That is just not good enough.

We will also modernise and improve the unfair contract laws in the IR Act so they are fit for purpose in the 21st century and can be used more quickly and inexpensively than at present.

People who work in the gig economy should have minimum pay and safe workplaces, like other workers. We must create a legal framework for the setting and enforcement of minimum pay and conditions for all ’gig’ workers.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/30/gig-economy-workers-paid-holiday-european-court-of-justice-holiday-brexit

[2] https://theconversation.com/end-of-the-gig-economy-dont-read-too-much-into-a-california-court-ruling-95906