Spain announces recognition of delivery workers as salaried employees, a major blow to the odd-job economy

The Spanish government today announced an agreement to recognize delivery workers who make deliveries for delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and UberEats as paid employees, setting a precedent in Europe. Delivery workers have repeatedly complained about poor working conditions.

AFP reports that the move will have a major impact on the so-called “odd job economy” (gigeconomy). The “gigeconomy” relies on hundreds of thousands of App-based independent workers for Food delivery or car-hailing services.

Spain’s left-wing government promised six months ago to clarify the legal status of delivery workers working for online delivery platforms, saying they should be considered employees, not “odd jobs.

The agreement finalized between the government and the Spanish labor union is a first for any European country, clearly regulating the status of delivery workers who ride bicycles and motorcycles and whose numbers have skyrocketed in recent years.

In Spain and other countries, these deliverymen have repeatedly denounced their precarious working conditions and have taken legal action to be recognized as paid employees with paid vacation and sick leave.

In a televised speech, Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz said, “They [delivery workers] are now considered paid workers and will enjoy all the relevant protections.” He added that Spain is “the first country in the European Union (EU) to legislate on this matter.

Delivery platform operators have repeatedly argued that they only act as intermediaries between businesses and delivery workers, who are arguably self-employed and must pay their own health and pension contributions.