In relation to this story on the agreement between Unions NSW and Airtasker, The Conversation asked the following questions of Airtasker CEO Tim Fung.
Questions from The Conversation in bold.
1) Is Airtasker setting a minimum wage for the workers on its platform?
We’ve updated our price guide to reflect award wages (or higher) as advised by Unions NSW. The Airtasker price guide is visible in multiple touch points, including when posting a task.
We don’t enforce or restrict the price of tasks. In any case, given the diversity of jobs on the platform and the fact that the vast majority of jobs created are new categories (not just traditional jobs) this would not be possible. That said, education in relation to what’s a “fair amount” to pay is great for our community.
Creating a minimum wage on a traditional hourly basis would not make sense as each individual person should be given the freedom to create their own quote based on their unique circumstances and skills. For example, it might take one person 3 hours to complete a specific task but it might take another person 20 minutes to complete the same task. Enforcing of rigid hourly wages would ignore an individual’s unique skills and “commoditise” people which is not in line with Airtasker’s mission statement “to empower people to realise the full value of their skills”.
2) How will Airtasker ensure workers on its platform receive a minimum wage and working conditions? What are the steps being carried out? What are the benchmarks for success?
We believe the best way to create a great user experience is by creating a strong, positive community culture and educating community members rather than implementing rigid systems or unnecessary processes - which would ultimately increase friction and reduce the number of jobs created for Australian workers.
As above, task pricing is about educating our community about what is a fair amount to pay for particular services however overall given that Airtasker is an open marketplace platform which connects individual job posters with independent workers, we empower our community to agree on an individual price for every individual task based on the unique skills and circumstances of that individual.
3) Will Airtasker, unions or anyone else be monitoring the implementation of these policies, to ensure workers receive a a minimum wage and working conditions?
Airtasker has Marketplace Rules which our community aim to follow and activity is monitored through a combination of algorithms, the Airtasker Support moderation team as well as our community who are empowered to report issues as they arise.
We believe the best way to create a great user experience is by creating a strong, positive community culture and educating community members rather than implementing rigid systems or unnecessary processes - which would ultimately increase friction and reduce the amount of jobs created for Australian workers.
4) How will job posters be incentivised to pay a minimum wage or ensure minimum working conditions for Airtaskers? Will there be any enforcement mechanism or penalties if this is not done?
We believe that implementing of rigid systems or unnecessary processes would ultimately increase friction and reduce the amount of jobs created for Australian workers - which is what we believe our worker want.
As above, our mission statement is “to empower people to realise the full value of their skills” and we believe the best way to do this is by creating a strong, positive community culture and educating community members (many of whom are both Job Posters and Workers depending on the day of the week!) about fair pricing, safety and other responsibilities.
5) How will the mediation/dispute resolution process work? Are the decisions enforceable?
Airtasker already has an existing dispute resolution process through a third party provider however we have agreed to meet with the Fair Work Commission to discuss creating a new dispute resolution process. At this time, this initiative is at discussion stage only.
6) Who will pay for the personal injury insurance, the workers, Airtasker or the job posters?
We’re developing a personal injury insurance policy together with a third party provider which will be released later in 2017 and will be an additional paid option for Airtasker Workers.
We believe this optionality is important to ensure proactive buy-in from service providers and to not force additional costs upon them (many of whom have their own insurance policy or may want to procure an alternate option).