Injured gig financial system employees in darkish over employees compensation

Almost half (45 percent) of immigrant workers and food delivery workers did not know they would not get workers compensation insurance if they signed up to work in the gig economy.

This compares to 28 percent of Australian workers who said they didn’t know either, according to Slater and Gordon conducted by Kantar Australia.

Jasmina Mackovic, leader of the Slater and Gordon exercise group, said injured gig economy workers are left out in the cold because they are considered contractors rather than employees, which means they do not have access to workers’ compensation.

“If you can do without employee compensation, you are not guaranteed loss of wages, medical payments or a lump sum for impairment if you are injured or sick and you cannot work,” said Ms. Mackovic.

“These gig economy companies avoid their responsibility to adequately protect the people who work for them, and migrant workers are particularly at risk. English is their second language, they haven’t been to Australia long and they don’t always know their legal rights. “

Ghalia Bazerji was unable to work, had no income and had to pay medical expenses out of pocket after being hit by another vehicle on the way to pick up a passenger in August 2018.

The Uber driver and mother of four had a broken left middle finger, injuries to his hands, neck, chest and back, and chest, abdominal and pelvic pain after the other driver gave a red light and plowed into them.

Ms. Bazerji had an operation and needed four screws in her finger to stabilize the fracture. She underwent regular hand, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and fitness programs to regain strength.

“The accident was a big shock to me. It happened when I was trying to turn right that day. You can’t really know what it will be like when an accident happens to you. You can’t just go back to everyday life, ”said Ms. Bazerji.

“About four weeks later I was driving again because my children needed me. but I would remember the loud noise, shock and pain, especially when I was driving through the same area. I would go back to that moment and it was all too much. “

Ms. Bazerji, who emigrated from Syria in 2014, said she tried to continue as an Uber driver five months later but was unable to continue after suffering psychological injury from the accident. She found new work where she could better manage her injuries.

Ms. Bazerji believes that gig economy workers who are considered independent contractors should have access to the same benefits as workers who are considered employees.

“On the days when I didn’t drive because I was sick, I didn’t have any money. My son is a passenger and we think it would be good for him to be an employee and get the insurance benefits automatically if he has an accident, ”she said.

“I didn’t have access to workers’ compensation insurance because I am not considered an employee and it was disappointing. In my new role, when I lift something heavy it is painful so I try to avoid it. “

Ms. Mackovic said while Ghalia was fortunate to receive some benefits under the CTP program due to the severity of her injuries, not everyone was so lucky.

“Many drivers do not know when they register that they have very limited or no insurance rights or health and safety rights in the workplace because they are not considered employees,” said Ms. Mackovic.

“Because they are considered contractors, they do not automatically receive paid time off to recover from injury or illness, and they do not automatically receive superannuation from their employer.”

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