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Just Eat offers alternative to gig economy couriers

Just Eat has announced a new option for it’s couriers, to pay them a minimum hourly rate rather than payment per job.  The move will give stability of income, minimum or living wage, pension, paid holiday, sick pay and maternity or paternity pay.  The plans will create up to 1000 full and part-time  jobs by March, and it is expected that workers will be employed on zero hour contracts.

However the change will also remove many of the benefits of being engaged as a self-employed courier, and some might earn less than previously during busy times such as Friday nights.  It is unclear whether the new contracts will prevent Just Eat couriers from working at other firms – some couriers earn more by working simultaneously for several online delivery platforms.

In addition, there could be a concern that the new contracts would deny couriers the ability to control their work patterns, whereas such flexibility is often a key reason for them choosing to be a courier.

Just Eat have confirmed that workers can opt out of the new model if they prefer to continue being engaged as independent contractors.  They also said that uptake of the new contracts has been high in Europe where it already operates in 150 cities.

Couriers will be provided with branded clothing and equipment as well as e-bikes and e-mopeds.  The new contracts will start being rolled out in central London first and then Birmingham in the new year.

The new initiative is an interesting development, and providing it really does offer couriers the choice in how they work it should have a very positive impact.  In recent years we have seen some of the parcel delivery firms offer their workers different options in how they are engaged (self-employed or worker contracts with benefits) and this has been successful for both the business and their workforce.  It remains to be seen whether this move in the food delivery sector will also be successful, and how competitor firms will react.

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