Study of the value of flexible work for local delivery couriers

Some policymakers and unions have challenged the “gig economy” model of engaging independent workers and call for a reclassification of independent platform workers as employees. This policy shift would imply a move from a flexible work model, where couriers decide when and where to work, towards an inflexible work model, where the platforms or other employers of delivery staff predetermine hours.

Based on a novel pan-European survey of more than 16,000 couriers, latest public information, as well as new data sought from food delivery platforms, this study analyses:

This economic study does not research access to social protection and other aspects (e.g. legal) of labour conditions and models – even though they remain important issues to assess and discuss – but focuses on the value creation associated with flexibility.

Key findings

Food delivery is a large sector enabling many opportunities for couriers to complement their existing activities by choosing courier work in a flexible mode, which couriers value

Abandoning the flexible work model would harm couriers’ jobs and earnings:

Abandoning the flexible work model would lead to inefficiencies and harm the entire food delivery eco-system:

The study is commissioned by Delivery Platforms Europe (on behalf of Bolt, Deliveroo, Delivery Hero, Uber and Wolt).


Related work

European Policy Centre and its Partners The Economic Impact of a European Digital Single Market
Governments of Ireland, Denmark, Finland and the Czech Republic Making EU trade in services work for all
Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel (Bevh) The impact of e-commerce on the German economy