Social safety net for gig workers proposed
The draft Code on Social Security has proposed that the Centre may formulate social security schemes for gig workers and include life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection and any other benefit as determined by the government.
This is the first time that the government has referred to the gig and platform workers. The term gig economy has assumed significance with proliferation of app-based services, ranging from food delivery to taxis and other services. Emergence of companies such as Uber, Ola, Swiggy, Amazon and Flipkart have opened up jobs related to delivery, drivers and warehourse workers.
The labour ministry’s move comes close on the heels of the legislation in California for gig economy workers. The legislation, which has become an Act, is expected to impact companies such as Uber and Lyft and experts said the cost of compliance may increase for the companies.
The labour ministry’s draft code defines a gig worker as a person who performs work or participates in a work arrangement and earns from such activities outside of traditional employer-employee relationship.
The ministry of labour has prepared the draft Code on Social Security by simplifying and rationalising eight central labour law acts. The ministry has sought comments from the public and other stakeholders by October 25.
Under the chapter on social security for unorganised workers, the draft code said the central government shall formulate and notify from time to time suitable welfare schemes, while state governments may unveil schemes related to provident fund, employment injury benefit, housing, educational schemes for children, skill upgradation for workers, funeral assistance and old age homes.
The draft code said every unorganised worker shall be eligible for registration, subject to certain conditions. The government has undertaken a move to revamp its archaic labour laws and the Code on Social Security is aimed at defining various aspects.