Draft rules for gig workers are ‘complex, confusing and shoddy’
Experts say, these leave many matters to the discretionary powers of bureaucrats, rather than providing them explicitly in the rules.
Workers in the gig economy will have to constantly update their details on a web portal in a bid to avail social security benefits, even as gig firms will have to submit contribution towards a fund through self-assessment, according to draft labour rules published by the central government.
The Code on Social Security (Central) Rules, 2020 states that all unorganised sector workers, including gig and platform workers, will have to update their particulars such as current address, present job, period of engagement with gig firms, skills, mobile number, “on the portal specified by the Central Government.”
“In the absence of such updation, a gig worker or platform worker may not remain eligible to avail benefits of the social security schemes notified under the Code,” the draft rules dated November 13, which is made public for inviting public comments within 45 days, stated.
According to the proposal, gig firms will be required to make an annual contribution by June 30 of every year for social security of gig and platform workers.
All such contributions will be done through self-assessment by the gig companies, which will have to submit a form stating the number of gig workers associated with it at the start of every financial year and annual turnover of the aggregators in preceding year.
The contribution towards social security funds, which will be separate for gig workers from other unorganised sector workers, will be to the tune of five per cent of “liability of the aggregator to gig and platform workers.”
Gig firms will also have to submit a final return, “detailing the provisional payment of contribution made along with the details of outstanding contribution”, by October 31 every year to the government.
The eligibility of availing any benefits out of social security funds for unorganised and gig workers will be determined separately by the government.
However, the registration of such workers will be authenticated with their Aadhaar details, following which a unique registration number will be allotted to them.
Experts pointed out several anomalies in the draft rules, from the Social Security Code, 2020 – a law passed by the Parliament last month.
For instance, the law had said that all organisations with at least 50 workers will have to provide crèche facilities but the rules state that organisations with at least 50 women workers will be required to do so.
The rules also fail to provide clarity on the sources of social security fund for unorganised sector workers, as was required to be done under the new law.
“The rules are complex, confusing and shoddy and leave many matters to the discretionary powers of bureaucrats, rather than providing them explicitly in the rules.
“The non-negotiable reliance on electronic registration for around 400 million workforce, which constitute the unorganised sector, is an unjust demand,” labour economist and XLRI Jamshedpur professor K R Shyam Sundar said.
In a bid to reduce financial liability of construction sector firms, the rate of interest for delayed payment of cess has been reduced from two per cent to one per cent every month.
“Under the existing rules, the assessing officer has the power to direct that no material or machinery can be removed or disturbed from the construction site.
“Such power for indefinitely stopping of construction work has been withdrawn in the draft rules,” the Union labour and employment ministry said in a statement.
Further, under the draft rules, the assessing officer can visit the construction site only with the prior approval of the Secretary of the Building and Other Construction Workers Board, the ministry said.
Rate of interest for delayed payment of cess by construction firms to be reduced from 2% to 1% every month.
Labour assessing officer will no longer have the power for indefinitely stopping of construction work
Such assessing officers can visit the construction site only with a prior approval from higher authorities
Registration of gig and unorganised sector workers will be authenticated with their Aadhaar details, following which a unique registration number will be allotted to them.
Gig firms will be required to make an annual contribution by June 30th of every year for social security of their workers
Workers will have to constantly update their details, including residential address, present job, period of engagement with gig fims, etc, on a web portal to remain eligible for social security benefits
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