Wed, Oct 16, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Food services to ignore labor decision

CONTRACTORS OR EMPLOYEES?Uber Eats said the Labor Standards Act barely fits its business model, as its drivers can set their own work hours and can refuse orders

By Kao Shih-ching and Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporters

Food delivery service provider Uber Eats Taiwan yesterday said that it would not change its business model in the short term, even though the Ministry of Labor on Monday said that food deliverers’ are employees rather than contractors.

The company said that it still considers delivery drivers to be contractors, because they can freely and flexibly decide when to work via its service platform.

“We hope that the government will discuss with all relevant stakeholders, including platform operators, and create regulations that protect the interests of delivery workers, but also allow this innovative service to prosper,” Uber Eats said in a statement.

The Labor Standards Act (勞基法) stipulates that food couriers are subject to the maximum daily working hours, must have one fixed day off per week and are entitled to double pay on national holidays.

They must also take a 30-minute break after riding for four consecutive hours, the act says.

Uber Eats said that the labor regulations barely fit its business model, as drivers are allowed to set their own work hours and have the right to refuse orders.

Delivery personnel are also not required to wear uniforms or check their attendance online, a corporate communications officer said by telephone.

Uber Eats said that it would maintain its delivery service and relationship with its drivers until further discussions with the ministry, but added that it remains committed to making food deliveries a safe experience for couriers and would continue to raise road safety awareness with its “delivery partners.”

Foodpanda Taiwan Co (富胖達) also said that it does not plan to make existing contractors employees, regardless of the ministry’s announcement.

The company said in a statement that it regrets the ministry’s decision and said that its drivers are independent contractors who use its platform’s resources and get paid per delivery by utilizing their time in a flexible and effective way.

Foodpanda would not make any changes to its business model at the moment and has no plan to pay labor insurance for its food couriers, the statement said.

However, the company said that it provides third-party insurance packages for all of its riders with better terms than labor insurance offers.

The company’s practices are fully compliant with Taiwan’s laws based on a study it conducted prior to entering the market in 2012, the statement said.

Foodpanda has since hired about 100,000 contract riders, it added.

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