Menu Close


Campbell, I, Macdonald, F and Charlesworth S (2019) ‘On-Demand Work in Australia’ in O’Sullivan, M., Lavelle, J., McMahon, J., Ryan, L., Murphy, C., Turner, T., Gunnigle, P. (eds.) Zero-Hours and On-Call Work in Anglo-Saxon Countries, Berlin, Springer Press, pp 67-90.


Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

This chapter was also sent by CPOW affiliate Iain Campbell together with Fiona Macdonald and Sara Charlesworth as the basis of their joint submission to the Victorian Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce. 

We pointed that our understanding of ‘on-demand work’ is much broader than that used for the Inquiry, since it includes gig work using platform technologies as only one component. Nevertheless, we suggested that the chapter might be useful to the Inquiry in situating such gig work within a broader context of similar forms of work.  

Specifically, it contributes to knowledge:

  • concerning the extent and scope of on-demand work
  • thinking through the issue of impact on individual workers, which goes well beyond a possible exclusion from access to employment rights and protections
~ Dist. Prof. Sara Charlesworth

While ‘on-demand’ work in the gig economy has attracted a lot of attention the extent and scope of on-demand or ‘on-call’ work in Australia is much broader than just gig economy work. 

This chapter examines what is known about on-demand work in Australia. On-demand work arrangements are those in which the worker agrees to be available for work and is called into work as and when she/he is needed. The two main types of on-demand work – zero hours work arrangements and minimum-hour work arrangements — are both are highly precarious forms of work and are linked to negative consequences for workers. 

On-demand work has been neglected in much employment relations research in Australia, but it embraces a substantial minority of the workforce and constitutes a significant challenge for research and policy. 

The chapter outlines the emergence of on-demand work within regulatory gaps associated with casual work and permanent part-time work. It summarizes what is known about on-demand work and on-demand workers, drawing both on secondary labour force statistics and on case-study evidence in selected industries and enterprises. It concludes by noting the surprising lack of effective regulatory responses and by suggesting principles for future reform.

For more information on the chapter and book see here.

~ Dr Fiona Macdonald