The Victorian Government is taking submissions for an inquiry into the on-demand workforce, also known as the ‘gig-economy’.
The inquiry, chaired by former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, will investigate the extent of the on-demand sector and the status of people working with or for online companies or platforms in Victoria.
The establishment of the On-Demand Workforce Inquiry, which commenced in October 2018, follows widespread concern about the wages and conditions being offered to workers in the on-demand and gig economy.
A key focus of the inquiry is to explore the arrangements covering workers in the on-demand workforce, looking at the legal status of people working with or for online companies or platforms in Victoria.
This will include reviewing the application and effective enforcement of workplace laws – including workers’ compensation, superannuation and health and safety laws for these workers.
The inquiry will also gather information about the impact on businesses operating outside of the on-demand economy, addressing concerns about the lack of a level playing field for businesses.
The on-demand sector is made up of a range of workers, consumers and platforms across different industries including commercial cleaning.
The inquiry is seeking submissions from workers, businesses, consumers, unions and platforms which facilitate on-demand work.
Last year the now defunct food delivery service Foodora was found by the ATO to have wrongly labelled its workers as independent contractors.
Domestic and commercial cleaning services such as office cleaning and end of lease cleaning, as well as maintenance services are offered by some on-demand platforms in Australia.
James told ABC Radio the inquiry will be focused on the impact of these emerging platforms in Victoria, as well as nationally.
“We are interested in hearing from workers, businesses and platforms who are facilitating this work,” James said.
“We want to understand not just the legal issues but the actual experiences of people operating in the gig economy. We’re keen to hear from workers about what attracts them to this work, and what the good, bad and ugly of this work is.”
James said the inquiry is also seeking submissions from consumers and their experiences engaging on-demand services, as well as businesses “providing traditional services and who are competing against these online models”.
“There are a lot of big questions to be closely looked at and this will be an evidence-led inquiry,” James said.
Submissions are open until 6 February 2019 and the inquiry is expected to deliver a final report to government in late-2019.
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