News Excerpt
The new Code on Social Security allows a platform worker to be defined by their vulnerability — not their labour, nor the vulnerabilities of platform work.

What are Gig Jobs?
Digital technologies fundamentally change how people work and one of the key transformations in the future of work is the rise of the so-called ‘gig economy’. Central to the gig economy are so-called “gigs”, i.e. temporary and often short-term jobs, which can be found through digital labour platforms that connect job providers and job seekers. The ride-hailing giants Uber and Ola are prominent examples of such platforms, with their on-demand taxi services having become widely popular. Other examples include Swiggy and Zomato.

•    In the gig economy, workers take up short-term contracts or freelance work and get paid for the gigs they do. There is no formal contact that is signed with the employee. This makes them vulnerable as there is no social security net.
•    An estimated 56% of new employment in India is being generated by the gig economy companies across both the blue-collar and white-collar workforce.
•    The three new labour codes passed by Parliament recently acknowledge platform and gig workers as new occupational categories in the making, in a bid to keep India’s young workforce secure as it embraces ‘new kinds of work’, like delivery, in the digital economy.
•    The Code on Social Security, 2020, platform workers are now eligible for benefits like maternity benefits, life and disability cover, old age protection, provident fund, employment injury benefits, and so on.

Present scenario:
    Conventional labour rights are absent and legal recourse in matters of payment, task assignment etc. limited.
    The government or courts cannot pull up platform companies for their pay, or working hours.
    The laws do not see them as future industrial workers.
    The language in the Code is open as it does not force the companies to contribute towards benefits or be responsible for workplace issues.

As the digital technology will penetrate more and more in the Indian market system more and more gig jobs and free-lancing job will be created at several levels. Given the fact that the share of such jobs will only keep on increasing it is high time that the government should come up with a framework for them and they should be reflected in government policies.
As they are more vulnerable to market forces and lack social security net the government needs to assure a robust social security so that the sector could attract more job seekers and can become am engine of job creation.

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