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Deliveroo has also told a Senate inquiry into job security it would support its riders getting sick leave and other benefits in tandem with the creation a new, “employee-like” classification for gig economy workers.

Ed McManus, the company’s chief executive, acknowledged riders wanted sick and personal leave and he said the company would support this, provided those using its platform were not reclassified as employees.

Instead, McManus favoured a new “employee-like” classification that he said would still allow the company to provide the benefits, without tying it to other industrial relations requirements such as minimum rates.

McManus said he opposed minimum rates for riders, for example.

Uber has said it is open to an Australian minimum insurance standard for gig economy platforms and a pool of funds that could provide drivers with entitlements such as sick pay.

But the company acknowledged its own worker compensation program was less than what was offered in some states and that its estimates of a $21-an-hour average pay for drivers was less than the casual minimum wages.

Facing a Senate committee on Monday, the company emphasised its long-held position that drivers and “delivery partners” on the Uber Eats platform were independent contractors, not drivers.

Matthew Denman, Uber Eats’ general manager, said the company was “eager to see national standards around safety”, including a minimum insurance standard.

The inquiry heard earlier that another company, Ola, suspended its insurance scheme in the middle of last year for financial reasons.

Denman cited an Accenture report commissioned for the company that found its Uber drivers and Uber Eats delivery riders earned on average about $21 an hour.

However, Labor’s Tony Sheldon noted other reports had found the figure to be lower. The national minimum wage for a casual worker was $24.80 an hour, he said.

So you’re paying below the minimum wage, and this is during the peak times when there is high demands.

We don’t think flexibility should come as a trade-off for protection. There are many options on the table.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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