DoorDash has issued a warning about the potential surge in the average cost of food delivery, which could more than triple in some cases due to the Albanese government's proposed laws regarding minimum gig worker pay and conditions.
The food delivery service presented this scenario during a Senate inquiry into the Closing Loopholes Bill, suggesting that aligning gig worker standards with comparable award pay and conditions for casual workers in the transport sector could result in prices surging by over 260 percent.
Comparing estimates with UberEats
This significant increase surpasses the more conservative estimate of an 85 percent price hike made by UberEats.
UberEats assumed that minimum standards would encompass the transport award's casual rates, penalty rates, superannuation, and reimbursement of expenses.
Rebecca Burrows, the General Manager of DoorDash Australia, emphasized the company's commitment to ensuring minimum standards for its delivery workers without compromising the unique advantages of gig work.
She stated that DoorDash's perspective is that the current bill falls short of its promises to platforms and, most importantly, workers.
Government's bill and DoorDash's concerns
The government's bill grants broad authority to the Fair Work Commission to establish minimum pay and conditions for gig workers considered "employee-like."
It references comparable awards as part of the commission's considerations but includes a safeguard to preserve workers' flexibility and engagement mode.
DoorDash argues that this safeguard needs to be more specific to prevent unintended consequences.
They claim that under the current framework, conditions are effectively limited, and these could even surpass those in existing awards.
DoorDash's proposed changes
DoorDash's submission highlights the concern that requirements to compare with employee conditions could lead to an excessively high minimum pay rate, factoring in every condition an analogous employee would be entitled to receive.
The company predicts that this could significantly increase operating costs for platforms, resulting in unsustainable implications for businesses and consumers.
To address these concerns, DoorDash proposes that the Fair Work Commission should only be authorized to set minimum pay, insurance, portable leave, and payment times.
Employment references should be removed, and measures like penalty rates, online time, and minimum engagements should be prohibited.
Transport Workers Union's perspective
The Transport Workers Union's National Assistant Secretary, Nick McIntosh, emphasized that the gig reforms represent a balanced approach supported by both workers and gig companies.
He noted that discussions are currently focused on the specifics of what these standards will look like, to be determined by the Fair Work Commission.
The primary objective of these reforms is to enhance safety, fairness, and viability in the transport gig economy. It is a challenging task that the Fair Work Commission is well-equipped to tackle.
McIntosh underlined the issues faced by transport gig workers, including chronic underpayment, the risk of sudden job loss through deactivation, injuries, and even fatalities.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has suggested that these laws for "employee-like" gig workers may lead to a modest price increase, but he believes this is a small cost to ensure standards for the lowest-paid workers.