The gig economy is coming under scrutiny around the globe over labor rights issues. In Spain, the government has enacted new rules that require food delivery companies to turn “freelance” drivers into staff workers in 90 days.
Spain’s new labor rules, which have been widely reported, came after a court ruling over Glovo, a food delivery service. The regulations, which were announced on Tuesday (May 11), also follow an agreement with trade unions and business associations.
Spain’s Supreme Court had ruled last year that companies must officially hire drivers as employees. According to reports, the pioneering new law, which was approved by the center-left ruling coalition, clarifies the rules of the road.
Spain was the first country to enact legislation governing the relationship between delivery platforms and their workforce, said Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz. “We are at the vanguard, and the world is looking at us,” she told reporters.
According to U.S. News & World Report, rider associations and labor experts anticipate further court battles. However, for now, most delivery companies have already started preparing for the change. Just-Eat, the Spanish branch of Takeaway, has already hired some of its workers. Others companies, including Glovo, have instead hired riders through temporary employment agencies. U.S. News said that a Glovo spokeswoman and an Uber Eats spokesman declined to comment. Deliveroo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In February, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold a lower court’s decision that Uber and other gig economy workers are employees and not independent contractors. Uber had appealed lower courts’ rulings. The Supreme Court said that Uber drivers in the U.K. are entitled to paid time off, a minimum wage and other benefits previously denied to gig economy workers. The suit against Uber, which was brought by gig drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar in 2016, was first heard by a British employment tribunal. The two were victorious in the employment tribunal and in two appeals brought by Uber.