News Technology01 Jul 2020

Australia:Almost half of digital platform workers lack work related insurance

01 Jul 2020

Nearly half of respondents currently employed in carrying out digital platform work (45.5%) report that their main platform does not cover them for any type of work-related insurance (e.g., work-related injuries or professional indemnity).

This is one of the findings of a survey conducted by researchers at Queensland University of Technology, the University of Adelaide, and University of Technology Sydney, as part of the Victorian government's ongoing inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce. The main aim of the survey was to understand the extent to which individuals in Australia earn an income by working or offering their services through digital platforms.

The five most common platforms used by people in Australia currently working on digital platforms are Airtasker, Uber, Freelancer, Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

The survey findings, set out in a report titled “ Digital Platform Work in Australia” also indicate that nearly the same proportion (39.7%) report that their main platform requires them to take out their own insurance.

Over 20% of current platform workers do not know whether their platform provides them with insurance or requires them to take out their own.

The responses to the survey, as related to work-related insurance, in percentage terms are as follows:

  

Digital platform operations

 

Yes

 

No

 

I don't know

 

The platform covers me with at least one type of work-related insurance (e.g., for work-related injuries or professional indemnity)

28.9%

45.5%

25.6%

The platform requires me to take out my own insurance

39.7%

37.9%

22.4%

 

The survey, which elicited more than 14,000 usable responses, explored the prevalence and characteristics of digital platform work in Australia to gain insight into the characteristics and experiences of those participating in such work, and understand the extent to which they combine digital platform work with other forms of paid work.

The number of responses to different survey questions varied due to respondents choosing not to answer that question or selecting prefer not to answer”.

More than 100 different platforms are being used by survey respondents to undertake digital platform work.

The survey was launched online on 21 March 2019 and closed on 21 April 2019 when the quota for all male and female respondents aged 18-74 was reached.

Survey respondents were asked whether they had earned or attempted to earn money through digital platforms. This included work that is internet-based or performed at a specific location, or alternatively for the purpose of selling, renting out or licensing goods or other property.

The sample was constructed to be nationally representative in terms of gender, age and State/Territory.

Current platform workers are commonly paid per completed task or job (59.0%), rather than for the time or hours they work (22%).

Of those who indicated their income, the average hourly rate from platform work was A$32.16 ($22.10). Professional service workers indicate higher hourly rates (above A$50 per hour), and those most likely to be in the lower income bands (A$0.01-A$9.99 per hour) are clerical and data entry workers, and writing and translation workers.

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