Excerpted from Veronica Sheen (Australia):
“The online agencies extend what is already on offer by contracting and labour-hire companies, as well as self-employed contractors such as office temps, cleaners, IT specialists, gardeners, labourers, or tradespeople. But in the new model the middle-man (the contracting company) is eliminated – notwithstanding the cut that the online agency takes for itself out of the payment to the worker.
The type of work offered by online employment agencies extends the “casualisation” of the workforce accounting now for around 20 per cent of Australian employees. This casualisation is increasingly part of ongoing employment arrangements for many businesses. The “helper” employed through an online agency is in effect another “casualised” worker.
But unlike other types of contracted and casual employment, these employment relationships fall outside any labour regulatory framework as provided through the Fair Work Act. This means they do not conform to minimum wage or health and safety requirements or provide for any other entitlements. While this is not dissimilar to the situation of any self-employed contractor, its desirability depends on whether the workers have a real choice in regards to this kind of employment and are able to negotiate satisfactory pay and conditions.
On the Airtasker website, a job to clean an apartment involving a couple of hours work offers $US40. Airtasker charges 15 per cent commission for the job so the total payment the worker received – $US34. At the time of my perusing, on the Ozlance website someone is looking for a web developer which has attracted 27 quotes ranging from $250 to $2000.