The Gig Economy and Covid-19: Fairwork Report on Platform Policies

By Fairwork

A new global survey by the Fairwork Foundation finds that COVID-19 responses by several digital platforms are not sufficient and are mainly aimed at protecting business and customers rather than the worker.

The survey of 120 platforms in 23 countries across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Africa found that platforms have, for example, been far better at publicizing responses than at delivering them to workers, putting many workers at risk of contracting the Coronavirus.

Fairwork evaluation of the platforms is based on five pillars; fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation.

The Findings

Fair Pay: Only five platforms had direct policies to increase pay for those in work; more common were actions to maintain levels of business, like client fee waivers or expanded scope of services.

Fair Conditions 1 (Prevention): Just over half of the platforms checked said they were providing personal protection equipment (disinfectant or, less often, masks); workers report they often failed to receive this.

Fair Conditions 2 (Illness): Around half of the platforms said they were providing some payment for workers who were ill, but workers reported it could be hard to access and payments often fell well below national minimum wage equivalents.

Fair Contracts: The only response here, by a few platforms, has been to try to create a firewall around their current actions; still asserting an arm’s-length relation to workers as ‘independent contractors’.

Fair Management: A few companies are guaranteeing no loss of bonus or incentive levels despite temporary deactivation of workers, or are issuing statements against any attempt by clients to discriminate against certain worker groups.

Fair Representation: No evidence yet of any platform engagement with worker associations, despite a number of such groups setting out demands and even organising strikes.

Read the full report here

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