Family of delivery driver HungryPanda wins historic payout after his death

Slater and Gordon’s lawyer, Jasmina Mackovic, said the ruling does not mean that all workers in the gig economy are entitled to compensation for death or injury due to differences between companies and workers. workers’ practices, but that the decision potentially opened the door to other payments.

“It’s huge,” she said. “Until less than a month ago this was unheard of…but it shows that we are moving in the right direction, showing that they are workers and deserve all the minimum basic rights you get in Australia.”

Lihong Wei holds a portrait of her husband, Xiaojun Chen, who was killed while working for a delivery company in Sydney.Credit:Dominique Lorrimer

Many companies such as Uber and Deliveroo offer personal injury insurance for their couriers, but it sometimes has different payment caps and eligibility rules than traditional compensation schemes.

Australian courts, regulators and tribunals have repeatedly ruled on whether gig economy workers are employees, with most concluding that they are contractors.

HungryPanda spokeswoman Kitty Lu said the company was aware of the decision, noted that the insurer was making the payment and highlighted the security measures implemented since Chen’s death.

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“Our thoughts are with the Wei family at this difficult time,” Lu said. “Driver safety is our number one priority as an organization and HungryPanda will continue to work hard to keep our drivers safe.”

Mackovic said EML was now likely to seek additional bonuses from HungryPanda if it deemed the rest of its workforce to be employees, which Lu did not address. EML declined to comment, saying it does not discuss individual cases.

Transport union boss Michael Kaine paid tribute to Wei’s doggedness, hit out at the industry and called on the government to urgently legislate its promise to let the labor court award employee-type rights to workers. construction workers.

“For too long, odd-job companies have been able to circumvent the limitations of our outdated Industrial Relations Act which divides workers into two camps: one receiving hard-won rights and the other not entitled to no basic protection,” Kaine said.

The NSW government has considered adding a tax on food deliveries to pay for insurance, but this has not been legislated.

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Earnest L. Veasey