Understanding the employment status of gig-workers in China’s sharing economy era–an empirical legal study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number20190019
Journal / PublicationAsian Journal of Law and Economics
Issue number3
Online published5 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


The prevalence of the Internet Plus model and mobile applications have brought people into the era of sharing economy, thus accelerating the generation of the “gig-worker.” Foreign experiences have tended to classify gig-workers as employees or as an additional employment category. However, reviewing China’s domestic practices, employment legislation is not enough to keep up with this innovative working style because the work classification and supporting mechanisms for gig-workers have not yet been explicated. This paper identifies the major types of gig-workers that have arisen and investigates 110 court cases to better understand the employment status of gig-workers in China. The empirical results indicate that the judgements of similar facts are diverse in the absence of a unified employment standard. Therefore, it is recommended that the work classification of gig-workers be clarified, lawful access to benefit plans and work protection system be safeguarded, and burden of accident liabilities be fairly distributed.

Research Area(s)

  • Empirical legal study, Employment status, Gig-workers, Sharing economy, Work classification