Environment & Biodiversity

A Social Security Board for Gig Workers: Rajasthan Takes the Lead

The Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers Social Security and Welfare Fund, established by the state’s Chief Minister, is India’s first welfare fund. This historic decision represents a substantial regulatory step towards addressing the vulnerabilities encountered by gig and platform employees since the enactment of the Social Security Code in 2020.

Everything you need to know about the Social Security and Welfare Fund for Platform-Based Gig Workers

  • Social security and welfare benefits for gig workers: The government of Rajasthan established the country’s first welfare fund expressly geared to address the social security concerns of gig and platform workers. The fund aims to give social security benefits and welfare measures to platform economy gig workers.
  • In accordance with the Social Security Code 2020: The Code on Social Security acknowledges the dangers that gig and platform workers confront and emphasises the importance of social security measures to defend their rights and well-being. The establishment of the welfare fund is consistent with the code’s goal of extending social security coverage to workers in the informal sector.
  • It functions as a three-tiered institution: The Platform-Based Gig employees Social Security and Welfare Fund is a tripartite structure comprised of bureaucratic authorities, employers or clients, and employees’ unions or groups. This structure allows the fund to address the needs and interests of all stakeholders.
  • Revenue-sharing model financing: The Social Security Code requires platform companies to contribute 1%-2% of their revenue to the fund, ensuring that financial responsibility is shared by platforms and the government.

Who are known as Gig Workers?

  • Individuals who engage in temporary, flexible, and on-demand labour arrangements, frequently enabled through digital platforms or apps, are referred to as gig workers.
  • They are a part of the gig economy, which is distinguished by short-term and project-based labour engagements as opposed to traditional long-term job contracts.
  • Gig workers operate in a variety of jobs and industries. They could include freelance writers, ride-hailing drivers, delivery employees, online marketplace vendors, virtual assistants, graphic designers, and many more.
  • These employees are often self-employed, delivering their services or doing tasks on a project-by-project basis.

Potential difficulties in programme implementation

  • Definitions are not clear: Because the classification and definition of gig workers might vary, it can be difficult to identify and include all qualified individuals in the programmes. The scope and coverage of the programmes might be complicated, especially given the different nature of gig work.
  • Funding Restrictions: Allocating adequate cash for the implementation of social security programmes for gig workers can be difficult. Adequate resources must be allocated to ensure the programmes’ viability and the provision of complete benefits. Choosing the right finance strategies, such as revenue-sharing schemes or platform contributions, can be difficult and time-consuming.
  • Limited Awareness and Outreach: Many gig workers may be ignorant of their rights or the existence of available social security programmes. Effective outreach and awareness initiatives are critical to ensuring that gig workers understand and are encouraged to participate. Language challenges, issues with internet literacy, and the dispersed nature of gig workers can all hamper outreach efforts.
  • Adapting to Technological Platforms: Integrating social security programmes into digital platforms that enable gig labour can provide technological difficulties. Integration with existing platform systems, safe data handling, and addressing any privacy concerns all necessitate careful planning and cooperation on the part of government agencies and platform operators.
  • Addressing Cross-Jurisdictional Issues: Because gig workers sometimes operate across numerous jurisdictions, programme implementation can become complicated. Coordination among states or nations may be essential to provide smooth coverage and minimise benefit gaps or duplications.
  • Creating Objective Evaluation Criteria: Determining eligibility criteria and assessing the contributions or income of gig workers can be difficult. Traditional techniques of determining job status or income may not be compatible with the fluid and variable nature of gig work. Creating fair and transparent evaluation procedures is critical to ensuring that deserving gig workers receive the advantages they deserve.
  • Balancing Flexibility and protection: The flexibility of gig labour allows workers to pick when and how much they work. It can be difficult to design social security programmes that provide required benefits while also addressing the variable nature of gig labour. It is critical to ensure that gig workers can receive benefits without jeopardising their employment arrangements.

Measures to address operational issues

  • Campaigns for Comprehensive Outreach and Awareness: Launch comprehensive awareness efforts to teach gig workers about available social security programmes, their benefits, and the application process. To reach a diverse group of gig workers, use a variety of communication methods, such as internet platforms, mobile apps, social media, and community networks.
  • Registration and enrolment Processes Simplified: Simplify the registration and enrolment processes to make them more user-friendly and accessible to gig workers. Use digital platforms and mobile applications to make enrollment simple and convenient, eliminating paperwork and administrative burdens.
  • Platform Collaborations: Collaborate with platform operators to make programme implementation easier. Platforms can play an important role in information exchange, reaching out to gig workers, and directly integrating social security provisions into their platforms. To ensure compliance and seamless integration of social security measures, establish clear standards and expectations for platform operators.
  • Benefit Packages that are Tailored: Create benefit packages that are tailored to the individual needs of gig workers. When deciding what types of benefits to provide, keep in mind their fluctuating income, unpredictable work schedules, and different occupational dangers. Benefit packages that are flexible and customizable might assist solve the unique problems that gig workers confront.
  • Technology Integration and Digital Solutions: Utilise digital solutions and new technology to increase process efficiency and service delivery. To provide a seamless and user-friendly experience for gig workers, leverage digital platforms for benefits management, payment systems, and claims processing.
  • Collaborative Governance: Form three-way relationships between government officials, gig worker representatives, and platform operators to promote effective governance and decision-making. This collaborative approach guarantees that all stakeholders’ opinions and interests are considered, and it encourages transparency and accountability.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation: Implement strong monitoring and evaluation systems to examine the performance and impact of gig worker social security programmes. Collect input from gig workers, platform operators, and other stakeholders on a regular basis to identify areas for improvement and make required programme improvements.
  • Engage in international collaboration and knowledge exchange to learn from best practises and experiences of other nations adopting social security provisions for gig workers. To improve programme execution and solve operational problems, share ideas, methods, and lessons learnt.

@the end

The formation of the Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers Welfare Board is a huge success for platform workers and unions who have long fought for their rights. While several states have yet to act, Rajasthan leads the way by prioritising the wellbeing of these workers, especially with assembly elections coming up next year.

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