Homegrown Australian food delivery platform Menulog revealed last week that it is going to convert its employment model to one of traditional employment, potentially entitling all its couriers in Australia and New Zealand to insurance, minimum wage, leave entitlements, and superannuation. It will be the first food delivery company in Australia to do so.
Menulog managing director Morten Belling said of the move: “Historically, the contractor model was well suited for the Australian market, but as the gig economy continues to evolve, we believe we need to make improvements for couriers that align with our philosophies and values and those of our new European parent group, Just Eat Takeaway.com.”
Menulog, which is based in Sydney, was bought over by European e-commerce firm Just Eat Takeaway.com in 2015. Just Eat Takeaway.com had announced last August that it would stop using gig workers, instead employing couriers directly to improve their quality of life, and has already converted some 2,000 couriers in the UK to employees.
“We owe it to our couriers to help enhance their life standards and as such, we have begun looking at how we can improve the way we operate and, as part of this, how we can roll out an employee model in Australia,” Belling said in an echo of that statement.
The company is now planning a trial run in Sydney's CBD area, although it has not provided details of when the pilot program will start or how many couriers will be involved. It is also reviewing couriers' existing benefits and insurance coverage.
Notably, Menulog had only just begun taking on independent couriers in New Zealand earlier this year, having previously only served businesses there that already had their own couriers.