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Male gig workers struggling to make ends meet

A new report released by the McKell Institute has found that the majority of Australian gig workers are struggling to make ends meet, with many facing significant financial insecurity and a lack of access to basic workplace protections.

Men accounted for 90% of gig workers in the survey and 95% of respondents say they want to see the industry reformed and support tighter Government regulation.

Low pay is the biggest concern with at least 45% of workers in the gig economy saying they earn less than minimum wage. In total, 76% reported that low pay was an issue while 2 in 3 (65%) reported concerns about not earning money while sick or injured.

In addition, 64% complained about unpaid time waiting for jobs; 3 in 5 (60%) highlighted uncertainty of income as a concern and just under half (45%) have struggled to afford everyday items like groceries and household bills.

Drivers working longer hours are worse off, with at least 66% of those working over 40 hours earning less than minimum wage. Food delivery workers were the most likely to report earning less than minimum wage.

Men's health and safety at risk

Over half of the gig workers surveyed by the McKell Institute have experienced work-related stress, anxiety, and mental health issues. Furthermore, 51% have felt pressured to rush or take risks to make enough money or protect their job, which puts both worker safety and customer safety at risk.

Over a third have been physically injured while working in the gig economy and 55% say they have experienced threatening or abusive behaviour, with 43% noting the risk of being abused by a customer as a significant concern.

One in seven respondents say they have experienced sexual harassment at work, with around 4 in 5 transport gig works who have been sexually harassed being men. This figure included more than 120 male workers (12% of men interviewed) around 25 female workers (26% of women interviewed).

According to the authors of the report, most industry bodies, academics, policymakers, and workers agree on the need for regulation. The results of the survey echo this call to action, with 95% of respondents supporting government regulation.

The report's authors believe that reform could be on its way for transport gig workers. This is due to regulatory commitments already made by the Federal Government to give scope to the Fair Work Commission to set enforceable standards in transport to make the industry fairer, safer and more sustainable.

Download Tough Gig: Worker Perspectives on the Gig Economy


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