Spain's left-wing government said Tuesday it plans to "clarify" the legal status of couriers working for online delivery firms like Deliveroo, saying they should be considered employees rather than gig workers.
In recent years some workers hired to deliver goods via apps like Deliveroo and Glovo have taken to the courts to demand recognition as salaried staff, which would grant them benefits such as paid holidays and sick leave.
But the delivery firms argue that they act merely as an intermediary between businesses and the riders, who are self-employed and have to pay their own contributions into health and pensions systems.
Confusion over the couriers' status has arisen as some court rulings have gone in their favor and others in favor of the delivery firms.
Last week, Spain's Supreme Court ruled there was a "working relationship" between riders and Barcelona-based food delivery app Glovo.
"We are going to clarify the nature of the so-called 'riders'. There is no doubt that a person who makes deliveries by bicycle is not an entrepreneur but a simple worker," Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz told a press conference when asked about the Supreme Court ruling.
The government will develop the new regulations in consultation with online delivery firms, she said.
Online food platforms have bloomed worldwide, allowing people to order from local restaurants via mobile phones, with dishes delivered rapidly to their homes or offices, often by young bicycle couriers.
The issue of whether those working in this so-called gig economy should be classified as self-employed, with few rights, has become contentious around the world.