Menulog will consider Sydney delivery riders as full employees in a new trial, citing a 'moral imperative' to pay gig economy workers a minimum wage

  • Food delivery platform Menulog will consider its Sydney CBD riders as full employees under a new trial, CEO Morten Belling told a Senate Committee hearing.
  • The company says it will temporarily provide a minimum wage, sick leave, superannuation, and other entitlements not usually offered to contractors in the gig economy.
  • The move cuts across competitors Uber Eats and Deliveroo, who champion the flexibility and earning potential of the current system.
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Food delivery platform Menulog says it will consider its riders as full employees under a test of its new business model, marking a dramatic shift between the firm and major gig economy competitors like Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

On Monday afternoon, Menulog CEO Morten Belling told a public hearing of the Select Committee on Job Security that his company had a “moral imperative” to move its workers to full employment.

Menulog’s Sydney CBD trial will offer a minimum wage, sick leave, superannuation, and other entitlements that are not usually provided to independent contractors, Belling said.

Rider safety could be improved by classifying riders as employees, Belling added, suggesting that workers would feel less pressure to “move as quickly through traffic as possible” if they were offered an hourly rate instead of payment on a per-delivery basis.

“If you move to a different model where you pay by the hour, you could limit that, if not eliminate it,” Belling said.

Menulog’s trial will assess the level of “flexibility” ascribed by current workplace relation laws, Belling claimed, while acknowledging Australia’s current employment framework was constructed before the rise of the gig economy.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the company intends to liaise with the Fair Work Commission, with the potential of creating a new award for the sector.

The trial will cut across the stated positions of Uber Eats and Deliveroo, both of which champion the independent contractor model.

In written submissions to the committee, both firms have recommended new minimum standards for the gig economy, like platform-provided insurance for riders.

But neither firm supports paying workers a minimum wage, saying the prevalence of ‘dual-apping’ — where a delivery rider makes deliveries for more than one service — obscures the true remuneration riders can expect over the course of their working day.

Belling said the employment trial would bar riders from dual-apping, effectively locking them into the Menulog system for the duration of their working hours.

“If the competition or other players in the industry want to go in another direction, that is their right to do that,” Belling said.

“But this is how we believe in doing business.”

Monday marked the first of three consecutive days of hearings, with the Select Committee on Job Security set to return for another three days next week.

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