Deliveroo is to give its permanent employees £10 million in shares, but the food delivery firm’s army of drivers will be excluded from the handout.
The move will see a majority of the company’s 2,000 office staff receive an average of £5,000 worth of stock options.
However, because Deliveroo delivery riders are classed as self-employed contractors and not permanent employees, they will be shut out of the award.
In a message to employees, Deliveroo founder and chief executive Will Shu said the share award was his “way of thanking staff at the company, a way of making sure this truly is our company in every way”.
Workers will be able to cash out if Deliveroo floats its shares or is sold.
Following a fundraising last year, the firm is valued at over 2 billion US dollars.
Deliveroo, which has its global headquarters in London and operates in 12 markets across the globe, has also recently equipped 35,000 riders with free accident insurance.
However, it stopped short of giving them further benefits because it would risk classifying them as staff.
Mr Shu added: “Employees at Deliveroo have made the company what it is today, and what sets us apart is our immense hunger to win, strong focus and care and a clear vision for the future.
“Our phenomenal growth and success has been made possible thanks to the hard work, commitment and passion of the people who make this company what it is, and that deserves recognition which is why I want all employees to be owners in Deliveroo and to have a real stake in the company’s future as we expand and grow.”
However, many have reacted with fury to the news, describing the move as another slap in the face for drivers.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell voiced his support for Deliveroo drivers sharing a petition on Twitter calling for "Deliveroo justice".
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “Deliveroo would not be making profits if it wasn’t for the hard graft by its army of riders and delivery colleagues.
“They are the ones that carry the company on their backs.
“It’s disgraceful Deliveroo are once again treating it’s delivery workers with such contempt.”