Global HR headlines: Door opens for gig workers to be seen as employees

Landmark ruling allows Starbucks’ employees to form a union.

Gen Z shows its mettle as Starbucks’ employees win a landmark fight to form a union, while the European Commission takes the first step towards recognising gig workers as employees.

Better.com CEO who fired over 900 employees over Zoom and then accused them of “stealing” from the company by being unproductive, has taken time off from his role. Meanwhile, the Japanese government decides to provide tax incentives to both large and small businesses that increase wages.

European Commission says gig workers are employees
The European Commission has set new rules that would mean people working for food-delivery and ride-hailing apps can presume they are employees regardless of what they are called in their contracts.

Gig economy workers are now mostly classed as self-employed across the bloc, and have faced years of uncertainty over earnings and status while digital platforms saw business boom during the pandemic, reports Bloomberg.

The proposal could take years to come into effect, as it requires approval from member countries and the European Parliament.

Japan incentivises companies to raise wages
Japan has approved a tax plan for fiscal 2022 to encourage businesses to raise wages through tax incentives, aiming to boost household incomes in a country stuck in low inflation and help spur consumption dampened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Large corporations that raise wages by three percent or more and small businesses that hike them by at least 1.5 percent will be eligible for tax reductions, as the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tries to deliver on his election promise of a redistribution of the wealth to support the middle class, reports Kyodo News.

CEO who fired 900 employees via Zoom takes ‘time off’
The Guardian reports that CEO of online mortgage lender Better.com, Vishal Garg, will be “taking time off” from his role after he abruptly fired more than 900 employees via a Zoom call last week, according to an email from the company’s board of directors to employees.

Garg, who founded the company in 2016, told the employees on the call that they “are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off”.

He then accused the terminated employees of “stealing” from the company by being unproductive, according to Fortune, which confirmed that Garg was writing about the layoffs under an anonymous account on a professional network.

Gen Z’s Starbucks union victory
Starbucks’ employees who led a landmark fight to form a union are overwhelmingly in their 20s and show a zeal to improve working conditions at the coffee chain, reports AFP.

They won their bid to create the first union in one of the Starbucks' company-owned US cafes, despite heavy pressure from management to defeat the effort.

“This generation, this Gen Z, has the highest favourability of unions in my lifetime,” said Richard Bensinger, a seasoned trade union organiser who helped the young baristas in their fight.