SEOUL, May 17 (Korea Bizwire) – Despite growing demand for delivery apps that is creating tens of thousands of jobs, delivery people are overlooked by current labor laws in South Korea, leaving many of them vulnerable to legal loopholes and breaches of employee rights.
Suitable to the busy lifestyle of South Koreans who want to enjoy good food without the hassle of visiting a restaurant in person, food delivery mobile apps have been downloaded more than 60 million times in the country, with more than 10 million orders placed every month on average, according to a recent industry report.
According to 2014 figures from Statistics Korea, over 100,000 people work in the food delivery industry, a significant number of whom are thought to be working for the likes of Yogiyo and Ddingdong, which are emerging as new job creators, hiring tens of thousands delivery people in total.
While the popularity of the digital platform services continues to grow, the nature of the job of a delivery person and the fact that their remuneration comes in the form of commission from delivery app companies means they are considered self-employed in the eyes of the law, which can leave thousands of delivery workers in a vulnerable position if their rights are violated.
Last year, a delivery app company owner brought to court a case involving a high school student delivery person who was injured on the job, after he refused to pay industrial accident compensation to the employee.
Despite opposition from the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service, the Seoul Administrative Court reached a verdict in favor of the owner, citing a lack of contract and the worker’s self-employed status.
The Justice Party has argued in the past that nearly 500 teenage delivery workers are injured and some 10 workers die on the job every year in South Korea, with only 1.4 percent insured.