By Anuradha Gandhi and Isha Sharma
In India, the gig workforce is expected to expand to 2.35 crore (23.5 million) workers by 2029-30 thereby having a significant contribution towards economic development.
Rajasthan became the first state in India to propose a legislative framework titled “Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act, 2023”, which is aimed at providing social security to gig workers by establishing a welfare fee deduction mechanism that shall be integrated with the aggregator app.
Applicability of the Bill:
- an aggregator or primary employer operating in the State of Rajasthan;
- an aggregator or primary employer providing any one or more services including:
– Ride-sharing services
– Food and grocery delivery services
– Logistic services
– E-market place (both market place and inventory model) for wholesale and retail sale of goods and/or services operating on both Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) models
– Professional services provider
– Travel and hospitality
– Content and media services
- any service or work being carried out that meets with the definition of ‘gig worker’ and ‘platform’ as defined under the Act
Definitions under the Bill
The Bill defines aggregator as a digital intermediary for a buyer or user of a service to connect with the seller or the service provider, and includes any entity that co-ordinates with one or more aggregators for providing the services.
The Bill defines gig worker as a person who performs work or participates in a work arrangement and earns from such activities outside of traditional employer-employee relationship and who works on contract that results in a given rate of payment, based on terms and conditions laid down in such contract and includes all piece-rate work.
The Bill defines Platform as an online transaction based arrangement of work that may involve a person or persons providing goods and services and a person or persons receiving goods and services against a specified rate of payment.
The Bill defines primary employer as those individuals or organisations who directly engage platform based gig workers for a particular task against payment.
The Bill makes it mandatory for every platform-based gig workers who is on boarded by one or more aggregators or primary employers operating in the State of Rajasthan to get registered with the Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers Welfare Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board). Such registration shall be valid in perpetuity.
Further, every aggregator and primary employer is also required to get registered with the Board within a period of 60 days from the date of enforcement of the Act.
Welfare Fee Deduction Mechanism
The Bill seeks to establish a fund called “The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers Social Security and Welfare Fund” for the benefit of the registered platform based gig workers and to facilitate social security to them. The fund shall comprise of the sum received from welfare cess.
The welfare cess shall be levied from an aggregator or primary employer at a rate as may be notified by the State Government, of the value of each transaction related to platform based gig worker.
Every aggregator and primary employer is required to deposit the amount of welfare cess so levied by the fifth day of each calendar month, failing which shall result in penal consequences.
Rights granted to Platform based Gig workers
The Bill seeks to provide the following benefits to all platform-based gig workers:
• Right to register with the Board upon being on boarded on any app based platform work, irrespective of the duration of the work.
• A unique ID shall be issued to every platform based gig worker who is on boarded by aggregators or primary employers and the same shall be applicable across all platforms
• Access to general and specific social security schemes based on contribution made as may be notified;
• Opportunity to be heard for any grievances and appropriate grievance redressal mechanism;
• Right to participate in all decision making process
Further, the Bill also imposes heavy monetary penalties for contravening the provisions of the Act as laid under Section 17, which states:
“Any primary employer or aggregator who contravenes the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder or who fails to comply with the provisions of this Act or any rules made thereunder, the Board, may, impose a fine upon him-
• In case of primary employer, which may extend up to ten thousand rupees for the first contravention and up to two lakh rupees for subsequent contravention;
• In case of an aggregator, which may extend up to five lakh rupees for the first contravention and up to fifty lakh rupees for subsequent contravention”
Gig economy possesses immense potential for economic empowerment, but this can only be realized if the workers are provided adequate rights and legal safeguards.
The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act, 2023 is a ray of hope for the recognition of gig workers and their basic rights. Such recognition shall help the gig workforce in attaining social security and, simultaneously, shall aid in solidifying the role and responsibility of aggregators.
The first-of-its-kind legislation is indeed the need of the hour and is believed to be a new page in the chapter of labour rights.