Social security benefits: Industry asks government to expand the list of gig workers – The Economic Times

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SynopsisBesides, the industry has sought clarity on overtime, reducing the frequency of annual health checkups while seeking exemption for IT/ITeS on certain provisions of the Code including setting up of safety committee and safety officers.

The industry has sought the government to expand the list of gig workers to cover even those who are working without aggregators besides doing away with the minimum work requirement of six months to get social security benefits.

Besides, the industry has sought clarity on overtime, reducing the frequency of annual health checkups while seeking exemption for IT/ITeS on certain provisions of the Code including setting up of safety committee and safety officers.

While the trade union Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh objected to the government move to conduct tripartite with majority of their officials only, they demanded government raise the threshold for EPF coverage from Rs 15,000 per month to Rs 21,000 to widen it’s coverage.

“BMS objected the filling up of tripartite committees with bureaucrats and technocrats and avoiding sufficient representation of trade unions,” it said in a statement.

“BMS demanded that the ILO mandate of the ratio 1:1:2 i.e. the ratio of one employee, one employer and two government representatives has to be strictly adhered especially in the State bodies,” BMS said.

Industry demand
“Rule 19 should be modified for the purpose of bringing clarity on the aspect that it is applicable only to those establishments which are required by the appropriate government by notification from the safety committee,” industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said.

“Further, keeping the nature of work in IT/ITES industry, IT/ITES may be exempted from this requirement,” it added.

Industry bodies further argued that for establishments employing large numbers of employees, annual health check-up for everyone, that too within 120 days of every calendar year, will put a huge financial burden. “The same intended purpose can be served by doing the checks at a lesser frequency,” CII said.

On the social security benefits to gig workers, CII said, “there should not be any waiting period of six months. The benefit period to start the day employee joins the ESIC scheme”.

According to CII, the gig workers as a concept can be implemented for various roles and jobs in other industries also without aggregators. Citing the example of delivery partners engaged by restaurants to deliver food without use of any aggregator in between, CII said “this list should be expanded to make it comprehensive”.

“The new definitions of wages and factories, stronger safety norms and expanded social security coverage to the gig economy require stakeholders to reorganize and strategize for the smooth implementation of the Codes and shape the employment ecosystem in the country,” CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said. “These reforms will help India improve the Ease of Doing Business, attract investment and lead to massive employment generation,” he added.

The Confederation of Indian Industry along with other chambers and Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh made comprehensive suggestions to the labour ministry on Tuesday as part of the tripartite consultations on the draft rules for the Social Security Code and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions. The joint platform of 10 central trade unions, however, boycotted the meeting.

The next meeting on the Rules for the above two codes will be held on January 20 before they are finalised.

Prior to this, the labour ministry had held discussions with industry and trade unions last month on the draft rules for Code on Wages and the Industrial Relations Code. The government wants to finalise the Rules for all four codes by this month end. This would enable all stakeholders, including employers, employees and state governments to better prepare for the roll-out of the Codes likely from April 1.

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