Deliveroo recommends law change to allow self-employed benefits

Monday 10 July 2017

Deliveroo is willing to pay benefits to self-employed riders if the law is changed and staff can still benefit from flexibility.

The company explained that existing employment law stops businesses from giving self-employed staff the same entitlements as workers while they work flexibly. This is because people are paid by work rather than hours.

Union bosses have criticised the company’s stance, arguing there is “nothing stopping” the business from guaranteeing employee rights at the moment.

Will Shu, chief executive of Deliveroo, gave evidence to the Taylor Review, a government project evaluating working standards for staff across the country. He suggested that extending entitlements under the current law would undermine the flexibility of riders.

Mr Shu explained: “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 that Deliveroo riders put in every day. It's only right that they're given the security they deserve whilst keeping the flexibility that they value.”

It comes after the company’s UK head Dab Warne, told the Work and Pensions Committee MPs earlier this year that the business wants to pay riders more benefits but was prevented from doing so due to the law.

However, the comments have been criticised by some organisations, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and GMB Union both arguing that Deliveroo can already make such changes. 

Maria Ludkin, legal director of the GMB Union, noted that the only people who are aiming to subvert the law and take advantage of staff are companies such as Deliveroo.

Ms Ludkin explained that, when the law is properly enforced, it ensures working people are paid the national minimum wage and provided with fundamental employment rights.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady described Deliveroo’s statements as reading like “special pleading”. He argued there is “nothing stopping them” from paying the minimum wage and offering holiday and sick pay.

The government’s Taylor Review is currently being put together and aims to evaluate modern employment practices and provide recommendations.

It is chaired by RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor, who is travelling the country with a panel of experts to understand the challenges and complexities of the labour market.

The review could lead to significant changes to self-employment law, with regulations such as IR35 expected to come under the spotlight. 

No official release date for the report has been announced, but it is expected to be published later this summer. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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