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Respecting human rights in the on-demand economy: Closing the new governance gap

"Respecting Human Rights in the On-Demand Economy: Closing the New Governance Gap," 11 April 2016

We are in the midst of a dramatic economic revolution...[which is] changing attitudes towards both employment and services. This new economy...is often referred to as the sharing economy...the "gig", or on-demand economy... This article seeks to apply a business and human rights lens to these new economic models. It explores potential human rights impacts associated with the shift to the on-demand economy, reviews recent efforts in business and public policy to begin to address these impacts, and points to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...as a useful framework to define responsibility and guide action by both business and government...

There are several risks to human rights resulting from [the so-called governance] gaps [e.g., related to the workers' rights to protection against unemployment, and to the right to security in the event of sickness]... 

[Though] [c]ompanies have a responsibility to respect...independently of the state's duty to protect, human rights..., we have yet to see a company in the on-demand economy that has adopted a comprehensive [and proactive] human rights approach, and no government has formally launched a broad public policy approach to address human rights in the on-demand economy. However, a growing number of new ideas and initiatives in the public policy sphere, as well as key steps taken by companies seek to address the most widely discussed risks to worker's rights... [refers to AirBnB, Marriott, Starwood, Lyft, Uber]

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