India to introduce gig worker welfare provisions

With this initiative, the Indian government aims to address gig workers' complaints regarding commissions and extended working hours


The Indian government plans to introduce social-welfare provisions for ‘gig’ labourers. The initiative will cover all the workers engaged via platforms such as Amazon, Uber and even Zomato.

The initiative, which is a part of the Social Security Code ratified in 2020, is expected to include many benefits for gig employees, such as accident coverage, health insurance and retirement benefits. 

This initiative comes due to the significance of gig workers in India’s economy, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite their non-traditional employment status.Moreover, the government is concerned about the surge in  gig workers’ grievances, along with social-media campaigns targeting platforms for commission reductions and lengthy working hours. 

The government is designing a scheme for gig workers, which can be funded through contributions from both federal and state governments. 

Regarding the proposed scheme and its possible expenses, Amazon released a media statement where it highlighted having generated more than 1.3 millions jobs in India for delivery agents and sellers, including 140,000 within the past year. This coincided with an expansion in the retail activities of small enterprises. 

Apart from prominent corporations, numerous other online platforms and the individuals they engage for small tasks would be impacted. This spectrum spans various services such as ride-sharing, retail, food, construction, and finance.

While the government is yet to determine the cost of proposed welfare measures, sources indicate that state-funded medical and accident insurance, a complaint-resolution mechanism, and employer contributions to a fund are being considered. Additionally, employers may be asked to contribute between 1 to 2 per cent of their annual revenues or up to 5 per cent of worker payments to the security fund. An online government portal has garnered registrations from over 290 million people, gathering their details and skills.

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