As the job hunt kicks into gear for many Australian women coming off JobKeeper payments, a new study has found that the gig economy isn’t always the answer to fast cash and flexible work.
A recent Slater and Gordon survey, from Kantar Australia, has highlighted a number of risks and unexpected costs that coming with gig economy work, which could see some women earning below the minimum wage.
The survey showed that for 70 per cent of ride share and food delivery workers in Australia, gig economy work was their only or main source of work. Many people don’t take into account the amount of time waiting for jobs, or the cost of running a vehicle.
Food delivery and ride share work may not be as flexible as you think, as you must work when the demand is there, around meals times and peak hours when people need to commute.
Many gig economy companies are also avoiding their responsibilities to protect the people who work for them.
Tips and Advice:
Don’t let your Car Registration, Licence or CTP Insurance lapse
Set reminders for when the payments are due or opt to pay instalments instead to spread the cost throughout the year.
Many apps don’t check if your bike or motorcycle is safe to be on the roads. You’ll probably need to supply your own helmet, reflective vest, rain jacket and safe footwear. The apps keep the clock ticking to try and make you complete deliveries and lifts quickly so it’s best to be aware of the road rules.
DIY super and tax
A lot of people don’t know that if you want to save for your retirement you’ll have to manage super payments yourself. Every gig worker must declare their taxable income to the ATO.
Save on fuel and tolls
Check the ACCC website to see if prices are expected to drop further in your city each month. Check the app or the rider/user pays for the road tolls, especially if you are planning on working for multiple apps.
No guaranteed Workers’ Compensation insurance
As an independent contractor, you may not be provided with automatic compensation to cover you for loss of wages, medical costs and treatment needed if you are injured or become ill, to get better and return to work. You won’t get access to sick leave to recover either. You can potentially receive compensation through a motor vehicle accident claim if a vehicle was involved.
Buying a new car or vehicle
Some apps may encourage you to buy a new car. If you are blocked from using the app unexpectedly and don’t meet their timeframes you may be left unable to make the loan re-payments.
The gig economy could be good for temporary work or to supplement income from other work but relying on it as your main income, could mean you are relying solely on insecure work, where you have very few rights as a worker.
Jasmina Mackovic is a practice group leader at Slater and Gordon lawfirm.