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Landmark Compensation Decision Could Pave The Way For Change To Gig Workers’ Rights

A landmark decision for the gig economy about workers’ right to compensation has been made by the state workers’ insurer.

Motorcycle courier, Xiaojun Chen, died when he was hit by a bus in 2020 while working for delivery app HungryPanda.

The state workers’ insurer agreed that he was an employee rather than a contractor, allowing his family to receive more than $830,000 in compensation.

Chen’s death, along with four other delivery couriers in 2020, sparked debate about whether gig workers should be considered employees.

Couriers for companies such as Deliver, Uber and DoorDash do not have the same traditional workers' rights, such as an industry minimum wage, workers’ compensation or protection from unfair dismissal.

This decision paves the way for gig workers to have better protections.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said without federal protection, gig workers face having to pursue compensation individually and receive different outcomes based on their state.

“No matter which way you look at it, the days of gig workers having no entitlements cannot go on,” Burke said.

Documents from the NSW Personal Injury Commission show the insurer EML, agreed that enjoy was employed by HungryPanda at the time of his death, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

EML is an agent of the NSW workers’ compensation scheme iCare.