Questions still on how far labour codes will change gig workers’ lot

News: Although companies claim that they take care of the social security needs of their workforce, but the various surveys suggest a different trend. 

For example – Uber, incidentally, has scored a zero in the Fairwork India Ratings 2021 on the working conditions of app-based gig workers, as have Ola and Porter. 

Covid-19 disrupted earnings, cab aggregators extended no help to the drivers – not even the bare minimum to pay their vehicle loan EMIs. 

What are the challenges faced by gig workers? 

Almost every Gig worker faces the twin issue of tough working conditions and absence of social security. 

From the four new labour codes, only one (Code on Social Security) includes gig workers. More on the code here. 

Note: Gig workers are people who perform work or participate in a work arrangement and earn from such activities “outside the traditional employer-employee relationship” 

Companies or aggregators are making use of  legal means (Example-different wordings in contracts that would change nature of the clause) to stay away from the responsibility of providing social security to gig workers. 

Lack of suitable insurance products and early pay loan/credit specifically customised for the gig economy. 

Must Read: Protecting the gig workers | The tug of war within the gig economy | Our expanding gig economy must treat workers fairly
What are the implementation bottlenecks for the code? 

Absence of data: Government has, till now, no idea about the number of gig workers. It has very recently operationalised the e-shram portal to register all unorganised sector workers, including gig/platform workers. 

Although not the perfect solution, but Code on social security may help a lot in providing gig workers better social security benefits. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Questions still on how far labour codes will change gig workers’ lot” published in Business Standard on 30th Dec 2021. 

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