Social security soon for Gig Workers/ Freelancers: Government of India
Union Ministry of Labour and Employment has accepted the recommendation of the parliamentary standing committee on labour, and proposed setting up a Gig and Platform Workers’ Social Security Fund in the draft Code on Social Security (CoSS), 2020.
The inclusion in the existing social security schemes would benefit millions of gig workers associated with delivery startups such as Zomato and Swiggy or driver-partners for Ola and Uber and other e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart.
The CoSS defines ‘gig workers’ as people who earn their living in a work arrangement outside of traditional employer-employee relationships.
The CoSS, an amalgamation of nine central labour laws, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2019, and was subsequently referred to the standing committee on labour headed by Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab.
The fund, ministry sources said, will be administered by the Centre, and contributions to it will mainly come from the aggregators. According to the cabinet proposal that the ministry has drafted, the aggregators will have to make a mandatory contribution of up to 2 per cent of the annual turnover from their operations.
“The fund will be used for meeting the social security and welfare needs of gig and platform workers,” the source said.
The ministry has also proposed setting up a board for the welfare of gig and platform workers. The board will be headed by the labour minister and will include representatives from central and state government, gig and platform workers, Central Provident Fund Commissioner, and director-general of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), among others.
The bill, which had provided for a social security scheme for gig workers, is likely to be tabled in the Parliament soon after which the scheme will be notified.
Earlier in the month of Feb 2020, Government of India has also introduced two voluntary and Contributory Pension Schemes, i.e.(1) Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojna, (PM-SYM), a pension scheme for the Unorganised Workers and (2) National Pension Scheme for the Traders and Self Employed Persons (NPS-Traders) (for the Vyapari’s) under section 3(1) of Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 to provide old age protection to them.