Gig workers to get health and maternity benefits under draft rules for Social Security

To register as a gig worker, the person has to be between the ages of 16 and 60 and should have been working with a platform for at least 90 days in the preceding year.
Swiggy and Zomato delivery executives
Swiggy and Zomato delivery executives
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The draft rules for the Code on Social Security were notified on Sunday by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. This Code is the first time that gig economy workers, platform workers and aggregators have been recognised with an attempt being made to provide them with benefits such as disability cover, accident insurance, health and maternity benefits, etc.

The draft rules state that the gig workers will have to update their details regularly on an online portal in order to avail social security benefits. The workers for aggregators -- who are not employees on the company’s payroll -- get paid per task and are not eligible for benefits that employees of these aggregators get. In most cases, they aren’t assured of minimum wage either. Aggregators here are platforms such as Swiggy, Zomato, Uber and Ola.

This Code also has a provision for a social security fund, which will require the platforms to deposit a percentage of their turnover for the welfare of these workers. As per reports, this figure is between 1-2% of the turnover, with liability capped as per the draft rules at 5%. However, it is not clear from the draft rules if the workers too have to contribute towards the social security fund.

These companies will also have to file returns with details of the provisional payment of contribution they have made as well as whatever is outstanding by October 31 each year. 

According to the rules, workers have to be registered with Aadhaar or with self-declaration of their details, after which they will get a Unique Registration Number. When they get this number, they will have to authenticate themselves through Aadhaar. The aggregator will also have a database, which will be linked to the unique registration number. 

To register as a gig worker, the person has to be between the ages of 16 and 60 and has to be a gig worker or platform worker for at least 90 days in the preceding year. 

In addition, the aggregator, which is the companies, will also have to periodically share details of the gig workers registered on their platform. 

“For availing any benefit under any of the social security scheme(s) framed under the Code, a gig worker or platform worker shall be required to be registered on the portal with such details as may be specified by the Central Government,” the draft rules state. 

In case of change in address, occupation, phone number, aggregator, skill, etc., the worker will have to update the details on the portal. The charges to be borne for such updation or for registration could fall on either the Union government or the aggregator or the worker, depending on what is specified by the government. 

“In the absence of such updation, a gig worker or platform worker, may not remain eligible to avail benefit (s) of the social security scheme(s) notified under the Code,” the rules add. 

Any gig worker ceases to be a beneficiary when they attain sixty years of age or have not been with any aggregator for less than 90 days in the last year. 

A National Social Security Board for Gig Workers and Platform Workers will also be constituted. This 25-member board will reportedly make recommendations to formulate schemes for gig workers, 

Overall, the draft rules provide for operationalisation of provisions in the Code on Social Security, 2020 relating to the Employees' Provident Fund, the Employees' State Insurance Corporation, gratuity, maternity benefits, social security and cess in respect of Building and Other Construction Workers, Social Security for unorganised Workers, gig workers and platform workers, according to a statement by the labour ministry. 

The Code on Social Security, 2020, will amend and consolidate laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised sector or the unorganised sector.

Suggestions on the Code can be sent to The government’s draft rules for the Code on Social Security can be viewed here

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