In Italy: Platform Economy Regulations


In Italy, around 1 million workers are ‘employed’ by the gig economy, and food delivery riders represent 1% of the labour force. However, the attention on this type of work is high, because of some recent accidents involving riders.

To try and regulate the conditions of food delivery riders - after one deadly accident - the government had expressed the desire to include a law about riders’ rights in the Decreto Dignità (Dignity Decree, 3rd August 2018), but it didn’t happen.

Currently, being a rider means working in precarious conditions: according to Lettera43 4, 10% of these workers have a contract (continuous collaboration contract), and 50% work as ‘occasional collaborators’, which means that the ‘employer’ keeps 20% of the amount to pay taxes on behalf of the worker. However, this type of collaboration doesn’t involve any sick leave, maternity leave or holidays, and it is legal only when a person doesn’t earn more than 5000 euros gross per year. If one earns more, the option is to open a company - and get a VAT number. This means that the worker is a self-employed / independent contractor and has to take care of his own pension, taxes, etc.

Deliveroo offers contracts with payment per hour (7 euros per hour plus 1 euro per delivery), but the rider can also opt only for the payment per delivery (5 euros), which seems to be more profitable right now. Deliveroo also provides insurance for riders, which includes a benefit of 75% of the average wage in case of temporary invalidity.

Uber Eats provides only the option of the ‘occasional collaboration’, which means that workers can only gain 5000 euros gross per year maximum. In big cities - and for big customers - Uber Eats has signed contracts with big delivery companies like Flash Road City srl, which delivers food from Mcdonald's.

Sometimes, riders who exceed the 5000 euros per year - and want to work full time - end up working for these delivery companies as self-employed or with a continuous collaboration contract.

According to Linkiesta5, riders who work with UberEats in Milan earn 3 euros per hour plus 1 euro per delivery. When eligible, UberEats riders are also provided the free Partner Protection program6, which includes work accidents benefits, disability benefit, once only payment (1000 euros) in case of maternity/paternity, injury/sickness benefit for up to 15 days. To be eligible, a rider must have completed 30 deliveries in the previous 8 weeks.

Uber Eats always defines itself as a ‘marketplace’, an intermediary and not an employer. In April 2018, The Court of Turin, Labour Section, has rejected a claim filed by former Foodora riders, who asked to be hired by the company as employees after an ‘illegitimate dismissal’7. Foodora is no longer working in Italy, but this decision by The Court of Turin supports the idea that the freedom to work given to the riders makes them freelancers by definition.

Uber is active in Italy only as Uber Black (car rental with driver) or Uber Taxi, which means that special licences are needed and the work options are very limited. This is because the basic Uber service with common people working as drivers has been declared illegal.

Gig economy issues in Italy

The freedom to choose when to work is there when the platform work is not the main source of income. If a person has to make a living, then the freedom is not there, because the rider is subdued to the app’s incentivized hours to be able to earn enough. Also, when one works as an independent contractor - only option when one wants to make more than 5000 euros per year - almost 50% of the income will be spent to pay for social security and taxes.

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