India mulls reclassifying gig workers as employees

Gig and platform workers may be reclassified as employees in a major government policy move amid a changing employment landscape.
By: | October 22, 2021

People who stand to benefit from this reclassification include gig and platform workers, as well as Anganwadi (rural childcare centre) workers.

There is a need for a revised and comprehensive definition of employment as forms of employment in India are evolving, said a senior government official.

“The new form of workers, including gig and platform workers, need to be factored in when the government comes up with India’s first National Employment Policy,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The revised definition is expected to address the widespread issue of disguised employment under which workers are denied rightful dues as their work is not covered in India’s current definition of employment.

Under the new policy and the revamped definition, the employers’ liability may rise in terms of minimum wages, weekly rest, annual leave and other employee benefits.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020 defines an “employee” as any person (other than an apprentice engaged under the Apprentices Act, 1961) employed by an industrial establishment to do any skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled, manual, operational, supervisory, managerial, administrative, technical or clerical work for hire or reward, while an “employer” refers to a person who employs, whether directly or through any person, or on his behalf or on behalf of any person, one or more employee or worker in his establishment.

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The current employer-employee relationship defined in the Code may be missing in some of the newer jobs, according to Economic Times.

Gig workers in India recently filed a petition with the Supreme Court arguing that they are employees, and should accordingly be entitled to social security benefits.