Deliveroo has called on the Government to "modernise" Irish employment legislation, to allow on-demand companies to offer self-contractors additional benefits without risking their self-employed status. 

In a submission made to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the company has proposed that Government develops a "Charter for Secure and Flexible Work" for self-employed contractors working in the on-demand economy. 

As the gig economy in Ireland grows, it continues to raise questions about the employment status of workers.

Deliveroo and other gig economy groups have lost cases in other countries over whether workers should be classified as employees.

In June, a Spanish court ruled that the online food delivery company wrongly hired 100 riders as self-employed contractors instead of regular workers, which costs the firm less.

In Holland, judges ruled that cyclists working for Deliveroo are not self-employed and should be paid according to the pay and conditions deal which covers the sector.

In Ireland, Deliveroo riders are self-employed and the company said riders "repeatedly tell Deliveroo they value flexibility above all else", while unions argue that workers rights need to be protected in the gig economy.

The company contends that if it offered riders benefits, under the current law there would be a risk that riders would be reclassified as employees "and would lose the very flexibility they value".

The company said its proposed Charter could allow for companies in the gig economy to offer self-employed contractors additional benefits, such as insurance or sick pay, without this being a factor in determining their employment status. 

Michael Healy, General Manager of Deliveroo Ireland said that the company already offers all riders insurance to protect them if something goes wrong on the road. 

"The Charter model, which is being pursued by the French Government, would be an innovative and bold way of enabling companies offer self-employed contractors more security, as well as giving greater certainty to those who work in the on-demand economy," he said.

"We hope the Irish Government will work with companies such as Deliveroo to ensure that employment law keeps pace with new ways of working which are bringing new opportunities for so many."