Five delivery services deemed to be formal employers of their drivers

Taipei-The Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Wednesday it has determined that five food delivery platforms in Taiwan are the formal employers of their delivery drivers, in its investigation of the issue following the deaths of two delivery men earlier this month.

The five companies -- Foodpanda, Uber Eats, Lalamove, Cutaway and Quick Pick - hire delivery personnel who are not permitted to transfer the job to someone else without the consent of the company, said Ju Jin-long (???), director of the MOL's Northern Occupational Safety and Health Center.

The delivery personnel are also subject to company regulations and will be penalized for violating those regulations, including abandoning the delivery, Ju said.

"The MOL investigation into the status of delivery personnel was conducted by reviewing the job requirements of a random sample of such employees," he said, referring to an initiative undertaken by the ministry in the wake of two fatal road accidents involving food delivery drivers earlier this month.

Ju said the ministry has determined that the driver is an integral part of a delivery company's service to consumers, therefore, is an employee of the company.

However, none of the five delivery platforms provide labor insurance for their delivery personnel, Ju said.

Under Taiwan law, labor insurance is mandatory for employees of companies with more than five workers, and it covers injury on the job, death benefits, and retirement payments, among other areas.

The fines for non-compliance with the labor insurance regulations will be up to the local governments in the metropolises where the companies are based, according to Tzou Tzu-lien (???), director-general of the labor ministry's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Meanwhile, three other food delivery platforms -- Yo-Woo, Foodomo and Jkos Delivery -- do not have their own drivers and outsource their deliveries to logistics companies, the ministry said.

In response, the Sharing Economy Association, Taiwan, whose members include companies such as Uber, Uber Eats, and Foodpanda, said in a statement that the MOL should respect the work style of delivery personnel and not regulate new economy businesses with outdated laws and regulations.

The association called on the labor ministry to develop regulations that are consistent with the digital economy.

On Oct. 10, an Uber Eats delivery driver was killed in a road accident, and a similar tragedy occurred three days later with a Foodpanda driver.

There are 45,129 people across the country working as delivery personnel, according to OSHA.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel