ANALYSIS OF WORKERS' RIGHTS IN THE ON-DEMAND ECONOMY WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO VERTICAL INEQUALITY
Keywords:Human rights in business, platform workers, on- demand economy, vertical inequality, Hak asas imanusia dalam perniagaan, pekerja platform-ekonomi berasaskan permintaan, ketaksamaan menegak
The rapid development of digitalisation has tremendously changed the way business operates. In recent years, the on-demand economy or gig economy model has received positive acceptance worldwide due to its convenience and flexibility, both to business owners and consumers. More importantly, the on-demand economy offers a variety of job prospects to workers via digital platforms. These workers are known as 'virtual workers' or 'crowd workers’ are classified as 'self-employed' or 'independent contractors'. This new employment model has received much attention from the legal and human rights perspectives. The classical employer-employee relationship that is not transparent in the on-demand economy has resulted in the exclusion of liability and responsibility of platform companies to respect fundamental human rights protections of the workers. Digital platform companies are criticised for taking advantage of the weakened labour standards and protections, such as lack of collective bargaining power, inadequate social security protection, unlimited working hours, and inadequate safety and health policies at the workplace. In addition, the workers at these platforms reportedly experienced irregular payment schemes. This led to vertical inequality and discrimination between these two groups of workers. Hence, this paper seeks to explore and examine human rights protection concerning workers in the on-demand economy. Additionally, this paper will present a specific discussion on vertical inequality between the two groups of workers and thereafter recommend the need for determination of employment status for the platform workers and also the need to ensure essential human rights protections for all workers irrespective of their employment status.
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