State-run social security and health insurance scheme for Indian workers, the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), may soon be providing insurance benefits to eligible workers in the gig economy.
The move is a part of the Social Security Code Bill, 2019, passed by the Union Cabinet recently, which also aims to include plantation workers under the ESIC, which in itself is a first. The Bill will include platform, plantation and gig workers.
Currently, gig workers are known to be those working in the sharing economy, for companies such as Zomato, Myntra, Grofers and Swiggy among others. Bereft of any additional security provisions till now, this is the first time that they are being included in a social security scheme in the country.
The Government has made an enabling provision in the Bill, which makes gig, plantation and platform workers eligible for insurance benefits under the ESIC.
There are provisions in the Code for small companies as well. Companies employing a minimum of 10 workers need to provide the benefits under the ESI law. Moreover, employees working in hazardous establishments—even if there is a single worker— will be entitled to ESI coverage.
The Bill also provides for fixed-term workers to be eligible for gratuity before completing five years in any establishment. Currently, under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1970, workers, be it casual, contractual, temporary or permanent, are not eligible for gratuity before completing five years of service.