The Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers (registration and welfare) Act has been recently passed by the state legislation which aims to recognize gig/platform workers by ensuring that every worker on any platform has a unique ID that would anchor all future benefits.
Rajasthan’s Gig and Platform Workers Welfare Act:
The Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act acknowledges the significant contributions of gig workers to the economy and aims to provide them with essential protection and support.
Objective: The primary objective is to extend social security and welfare benefits to gig workers operating in the state.
The Rajasthan government has launched this act on Hamal model.
The Hamal model:
Hamal Panchayat: Over 60 years ago, Maharashtra’s hamals formed the "Hamal Panchayat" union to address the challenges faced by unorganized sector workers, leading to the establishment of "Mathadi board" law.
The law mandated registration of workers and merchants using hamals' labor, requiring shopkeepers to deposit workers' wages and a levy for social security schemes with the board, providing benefits like gratuity, health, and education benefits.
The successful implementation of this law enabled hamals to secure social security.
Key Features of the Act:
Registration of Gig Workers: The act mandates the registration of all gig workers with the state government to bring them under the ambit of labor regulations.
The state government will maintain a comprehensive database of all gig workers operating in Rajasthan.
Each gig worker will be assigned a unique ID, which will facilitate tracking their employment history and entitlements.
Access to Social Security Schemes:
Gig workers will be granted access to a range of social security schemes.
These schemes may include health insurance, accident coverage, and other welfare measures to provide financial support during emergencies.
Grievance Redressal Mechanism:
The Act ensures that gig workers have the right to be heard and address any grievances they may have.
This provision seeks to protect the rights of gig workers and provide them with a platform to resolve work-related issues.
Establishment of Platform-Based Gig Workers Welfare Board:
The board will be responsible for overseeing the welfare and rights of gig workers in the state.
Welfare Board — comprising State officials, five representatives each from gig workers and aggregators, and two others (“one from Civil Society and another who evince interest in any other field”).
At least one-third of the nominated members should be women.
This representation aims to ensure that the interests of both parties are considered when making decisions related to welfare and regulation.
Platform-Based Gig Workers Fund and Welfare Fee:
The act introduces a "Platform-Based Gig Workers Fund and Welfare Fee" to finance the social security measures for gig workers.
The fund will be utilized to provide financial support and welfare benefits to gig workers during challenging times.
Fee Levied on Aggregators:
Aggregators will be required to pay a fee for each transaction involving a platform-based gig worker.
The specific percentage of the fee will be determined by the state government to contribute to the welfare fund.
Penalties for Non-Compliance:
The act includes provisions for penalties in case of non-compliance by aggregators.
Aggregators failing to pay the welfare fee on time will be charged an interest rate of 12% per annum from the due date.
The state government can impose fines of up to Rs.5 lakh for the first contravention and up to Rs 50 lakh for subsequent violations of the Act by aggregators.
Who are Gig Workers?
A ‘gig worker’ is currently defined as someone who“earns from such activities outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship and who works on a contract” for various platforms or aggregators, such as Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, Uber, Urban Company, etc.
Gig workers aredifferent from regular employees, as they have flexible work hours and multiple sources of income.
They are paid on the basis of the tasks or services they complete, rather than on a monthly or hourly basis.
Gig workers provide various services, such asfood delivery, ride-hailing, home services, e-commerce, content creation, graphic design, web development, etc.
Increasing Numbers: Gig workers are estimated to be around 15 million in India,according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. They are expected to grow to 90 million by 2028.
Contribution in Economy: A Gig economyis a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.