Spain regulates odd-job economy with new food delivery law



OVIEDO from Spain

Spanish companies that rely on freelancers to deliver food have three months to hire their couriers as regular employees, according to a pioneering law passed in Spain on Tuesday.

“No other country in the world has dared to pass a law like this. The world is watching Spain,” said Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz.

Companies like Uber Eats and Spanish startups Deliveroo and Glovo will now need to hire around 17,000 freelancers who power their businesses.

In Spain, self-employed people not only enjoy some of the benefits of long-term employment contracts, but they also pay the government an average monthly fee of around € 280 ($ 340).

The country has cracked down on employers who hire so-called self-employed workers to bypass their social security payments or provide benefits such as vacation or maternity leave.

“A young person on a bicycle with an app is not an entrepreneur. That’s what the courts decided, ”Diaz said.

But not all workers are happy.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Tuesday to protest the new law. Some fear the law will completely destroy their jobs, while others say they prefer the flexibility that comes with being self-employed.

Under the new law, companies will also be required to share certain rules of their algorithms with workers.

“This measure will not only affect the development of the Spanish digital economy, but constitutes a violation of the fundamental principles of the freedom of business and industry,” reads a statement released by the association APS, which counts Uber Eats and Deliveroo among its members.

Just Eat, meanwhile, applauded the law, saying it “situates Spain as a European benchmark” in terms of “developing a sustainable digital economy”.

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