Precarious Employment: The Race to the Bottom
“Misclassifying your employees as independent contractors is the oldest trick in the book.” Josh Mandryk talks to Jacobin online about the precarious employment of bicycle couriers.
A bicycle courier is usually treated as an independent contractor – that is, as someone who is self-employed and not the employee of a courier company. As a result, bicycle couriers do not usually have access to paid sick leave, medical benefits or other benefits that often come with being an employee. Yet it is not unusual for bike couriers to be injured on the job.
In an article looking at bike couriers’ existence — which it describes as “equal parts danger and precariousness” – the Jacobin spoke to Josh Mandryk about their legal status:
… it’s apparent why firms prefer affixing the “contractor” label instead. “This downloads costs from companies to employees, and from employees to the public,” Toronto based labor lawyer Joshua Mandryk told me. “Misclassifying your employees as independent contractors is the oldest trick in the book.”
It means not having to pay for things like bikes, workers’ comp, phone bills.