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Platform Economy and Labor Rights and Interests Form A Basic Protection for being similar to an employee as suggested by Department of Labor, Taipei City Government

       The Department of Labor, Taipei City Government held a labor forum titled “The Impact of the Platform Economy on Labor Rights and Interests” on October 9th 2019. The forum, in which the representatives from the Government, Industry and Academia came together, discussed the laws and regulations, the policy-making, and the labor rights and interests for delivery drivers.
 
       The Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Lai Hsiang-Lin, expressed that it is essential and necessary to protect our delivery drivers. Their basic protections “being similar to an employee” shall be protected through the application of social protecting networks. Following the swift change in digital technology, companies are expected to re-consider their social responsibility from the prospective of sustainable management, in order to create multiple win-win situations, in which a company can remain sustainable and the employee’s rights and interests can be protected.

       The Division chief, Yeh, Shi-Yen, gave a presentation on the investigation and analysis of patterns of delivery drivers from four delivery platforms in 2019. In addition to establishing a Cliff’s notes version of delivery driver’s rights and interests, the Department of Labor will assist them with the settlement of Labor-management disputes.

       The Director of the Labor Inspection Office, Jiang Min-Zi, said that the Department of Labor and 6 delivery platforms have reached 4 major promises and consensuses on the issue of protecting driver’s safety in their workplace. They include firstly, regulating a standard delivering procedure for delivery drivers and promoting the occupational safety and health. Secondly, delivery companies themselves and their associate companies shall set up occupational safety and hygiene staff, to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Thirdly, on receipt of an announcement of time off imposed by the local government, the delivery service is supposed to be stopped in time for the protection of delivery driver´s safety. Fourthly, in discussing enhancing the scope of casualty insurance for the delivery driver, the participating representatives of the platforms have responded with a high willingness to accept the government´s counselling to emphasize the maintenance of their employee´s and delivery driver´s welfare and occupational safety.

       Associate professor Lin, Jia-He of the College of Law, National Chengchi University, expressed that the industry model of the digital platform economy has a substantial impact on internal and external labor markets as well as the related legal policies. People are often wondering if the delivery staff has the legal laborer’s status. It is urged that when signing a contract, whether or not it is an employment contract or a work contract, the delivery company and drivers need to review whether or not the contract meets the needs of the worker’s current situation. Furthermore, the corresponding labor laws shall be complied with by both sides.

       Professor Li, Jian-Hong of Chinese Culture University, Department of Labor and Human Resources, has shared his comment on the impact of labor rights and interests arising from the Gig Economy in the U.S.A, Australia, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada, and their corresponding strategies.

       Li expressed that the Ministry of Labor is proposing a principle reference, “the identification of someone pretending to be employed with a contract”. From the point of view of short term development, the principle reference is significant for the local labor authority to deal with a complaint filed by a gig worker on management-labor disputes; however for the long term, it is suggested to amend the Labor Standards Act and its related decrees.

       Taipei City Confederation of Trade Unions, executive director Chen Shu-Lun said that drivers of delivery platforms in Japan have established a labor union, which is in charge of negotiating with companies. In Malaysia, drivers of delivery platforms started a strike because of the change in their calculated wage. She urged the Government and industries to make public the issue of social insurance and risk sharing transparent. The issue of the contents of the contract and the methods of management are also rather important. The workers are supposed to organize a group and proceed with collective bargaining in order to protect themselves. It is strongly suggested that the upcoming entry threshold of organizing a labor union and the related regulations of collective bargaining should avoid over regulation. The workers therefore are able to speak about their own labor rights and interests.

       The manager of the Foodpanda Taiwan Co. Ltd., Zeng Jie-ping expressed that beyond all doubt delivery companies bring the convenience and positive economic effects to the society. They have set up a new model of consumption for consumers and restaurants, as well as created an option flexible enough for workers to choose from. Additionally, they have the willingness to accept the Government’s counselling, and enhance employee’s and driver’s welfare and their safety in the workplace. A three wins situation is expected to be achieved.