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Gig Economy

Human rights implications and legal and policy rights protection frameworks for gig economy workers

Technology has driven the emergence of the gig economy, creating more seemingly flexible opportunities for people to earn income, such as through ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, or freelance labour matching platforms such as Taskrabbit. From these new business models have emerged unique business relationships which do not often fit traditional labour frameworks. For example, workers with tasks that resemble those of regular employees may be classified as “self-employed” individuals, “freelancers”, or “entrepreneurs”, without access to the same rights and benefits legally due to regular employees, including freedom of association and collective bargaining. While the gig economy provides ease in the delivery of needed services and can allow more flexible work conditions than regular employment, it has presented serious challenges to labour rights through precarious work, enforced casualisation, uncertain hours, poor pay and involuntary overtime.

This section explores the positive and negative human rights implications associated with the gig economy, as well as the need to reimagine and transform legal and policy rights protection frameworks in order to keep up with current conditions.

Featured contents

The Future of Work: Litigating Labour Relationships in the Gig Economy

The Resource Centre's 2019 Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing focused on the misclassification of workers as “independent contractors” in the gig economy - and the resulting erosion of labour rights - as workers, civil society, governments, and companies negotiate the future of work.

COVID-19 highlights lack of social protections for gig economy workers

This story explores the challenges and harms faced by gig economy workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK: Union to take legal action against govt. over failure to protect precarious workers during COVID-19

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has announced that it will be taking legal action against the UK government over its COVID-19 economic support measures which - they argue - "discriminate" against, and fail to provide proper support for, self-employed workers, women, minority groups, and those in the "gig economy".​