Deliveroo is set to spend £10m to provide 35,000 riders with free accident insurance, claiming it wants to do more but is restricted under self-employed law.
Across 12 countries Deliveroo will enroll their riders into a new insurance package that will cover them for up to £7,500 of medical expenses. In addition, up to 75 per cent of average gross income if riders are injured whilst working.
Back in December, the business’ UK food delivery riders could access the “exclusive” accident and personal sickness and injury cover for £1.85 a week.
Deliveroo has said they would like to add more benefits to their employment scheme but risks being forced to class riders as staff instead of self-employed workers.
Commenting on this, chief executive and founder, Will Shu said: “We know riders value the flexibility of being able to fit their work around their life, but they also deserve security if they’re involved in an accident.
“We would like to go further, but are currently constrained by the law. Deliveroo will continue arguing for the law to be updated so on-demand companies can offer both flexibility and security.”
However, union representatives said the business needs to go further to protect the needs of riders.
Commenting on this, national officer for the GMB union, Mick Rix, said: “Deliveroo finally appears to be taking the safety of its workers seriously.
“But the company, along with other gig economy employers, must wake up to its other responsibilities and pay the national living wage for all time worked along with holiday and sick pay.”
Deliveroo’s riders were victorious last year as they wanted the flexibility of being self-employed rather than being classes as “workers”. This marked a turning point for employment rights in the gig economy.
This came after a Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) denied an application by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWUGB) to represent deliverers in North London.
In response to the news insurance offer, Chair of the IWUGB, Megan Brown, said: ““It is a laughably bad joke that Deliveroo denies its riders worker rights while pretending to be on their side.
“There is nothing in the law that prevents Deliveroo from offering its riders both a flexible working arrangement and worker rights, including guaranteed minimum wage and holiday pay.
“The idea that this is impossible is a myth that serves only Deliveroo and other unscrupulous companies wishing to flout their responsibilities.”
Whilst riders are logged into the Deliveroo app and are marked as available the new insurance offer will apply, it will also cover up to an hour after they log off.
Riders will also be able to access the £1m in public liability insurance which also covers scooter drivers whilst off their vehicles.
To begin with, the free cover will come into force in May and be implemented into the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Singapore and Hong Kong, Australia, the UAE and will continue in France.
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