While the size of the gig economy may seem small compared to the traditional economy, it is rapidly growing. Given the fact that workers today, especially Millennials seek flexibility, the community of gig and platform workers is set to multiply, and very fast. The good news is that they will soon enjoy social security.
Under the suggested labour reforms, the Central Government has given special consideration to those employed in the unorganised sector, by offering them life and disability cover; health and maternity benefits; old-age protection; education; housing and other benefits.
Suitable welfare schemes will be created for the benefit of unorganised workers, including provident fund, employment injury benefit, housing, educational schemes for children, upskilling opportunities, funeral assistance and old-age homes.
For gig and platform workers, as well as other unorganised workers, the Central Government may constitute a Social Security Fund to provide, as the name suggests, social security to these workers.
All such schemes may be partly funded by the state government and partly by the Central government or wholly funded by the Centre. They may also be partly funded by the state and Central governments and partly by the contributions from the beneficiaries themselves. The schemes may even be supported by the corporate social responsibility funds as stated in the Companies Act, 2013.
Facilitation centres established by the Central or state governments shall spread awareness and circulate information on available social security schemes for the unorganised workers. They will help these workers to obtain registration forms, and also fill, process and forward them so that they get enrolled in social security schemes.
All unorganised workers shall be eligible for registration, provided they are at least 16 years old or such age as may be prescribed by the Central government. Every application will be assigned a specific number or be linked to the Aadhaar number.