Deliveroo calls for new ‘charter for secure and flexible work’

9 to 5 employment is in danger.

It’s on the clock, and time is ticking.

It’s having to battle with the growth of more flexible working arrangements. ‘Gig’ style employment, for example, is on the rise, with companies like Deliveroo driving its growth.

Deliver who?

Deliveroo is an online food delivery company who first took to the streets of Ireland in 2015. Deliveroo’s online platform connects people who are available to perform personal services with end-users.

Deliveroo’s technology has created an employment law headache, as it is not clear what the employment status of the riders using their app is.

Employment status issues

Advances in technology are altering the employment landscape. The gig economy is leading the change.

As the employment landscape continues to change, regulatory laws will have to keep up.

Deliveroo is making headlines for maintaining its firm stance that their delivery riders are self-employed. The company has reportedly approached the Irish government about making changes to employment legislation to confirm their preferred position on the employment status of its delivery riders.

At the moment, Deliveroo riders are deemed to be self-employed contractors. What Deliveroo is proposing is a “charter for secure and flexible work”. This would allow Deliveroo to offer better benefits to their riders without changing their employment status.

Employment status in Ireland

Irish law makes just one distinction in employment status. You’re either an employee or a self-employed contractor.

As technology advances and companies like Deliveroo keep challenging employment laws, it may see the introduction of another category of employment status.

The UK shows us what that might look like. There, employment status is divided into three categories:

  • A worker has a contract with an organisation that requires them to carry out work.
  • An employee works under a contract of service, which includes mutuality of obligation. Employees enjoy the full range of statutory employment rights.
  • Self-employed people are in business for themselves and carry out work under a contract for services.

Determining employment status

Each question of employment status in Ireland is determined on its own facts.

One party with a particular interest is Revenue, who aim to ensure that employment status is properly determined to maximise its employment-related tax take.

Until the existing laws are reviewed, their Code of Practice for Determining Employment or Self-Employment Status of Individuals is useful to clarify whether an individual is an employee or self-employed.

Signed, sealed, delivered?

The Government’s main priority is to prevent bogus self-employment and ensure that employment status is correctly determined. The questions raised by the Deliveroo model suggest that new legislation in this area is on the cards.

Have a question relating to employment status and self-employed contractors? Contact our advice line on +353 1 886 0350 to speak with one of our experts.

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Nora Cashe

Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

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Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

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David Begg

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David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.