Gig Workers Likely to Get Healthcare Protection Under Labour laws
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The addition of “gig workers” in new labour laws, providing benefits such as health insurance and other schemes to millions of informal employees such as Uber drivers and Swiggy passengers, is expected to be okayed by the Standing Labor Committee of Parliament.

The government said in its brief to the committee, headed by BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab that it included new definitions to address emerging forms of employment such as gig worker, aggregator, and platform worker.

The committee mentioned that the central government should devise schemes for these workers in terms of health benefits, maternity benefits, and disability insurance. The Social Security Code, one of four codes designed to refashion 43 labour laws, seeks to enhance coverage of employees who come under the State Insurance Corporation Act all over India and to all establishments comprising 10 or more employees.

Earlier, the applicability of the ESIC Act was based on the notification concept for each district or a part thereof, and the law may be specific to hazardous occupations.

“The threshold could even be a single worker in such (hazardous) classes of establishment,” the government said, adding that a plantation employer can opt for the ESIC by willingly joining the corporation.

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The committee seems to agree with the view that these measures will go a long way towards extending social security for medical services, sickness and maternity benefits as well as dependent pension and compensation for employees.

Thresholds can be set or adjusted for provident fund, gratuity, ESIC, maternity benefits and social security by notices rather than changes to specific acts.

There is currently no provision for electronic workplace identification under the Unorganised Workplace Social Security Act, 2008. An unorganised worker has been suggested to send an online or otherwise self-declaration form to an authority approved by the government.

A unique number on the basis of Aadhaar will be assigned to a registered unorganised worker. Stiff penalties have been suggested, with increases as much as 10-fold as the fines had been last updated in 1998.

At the same time, a prior warning is provided for improvement and compliance with the new code. The news codes are expected to be discussed and decided on in the second half of the Budget session.

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