The word gig by its very definition means a job, especially one that is
temporary or that has an uncertain
 As the name suggests a gig economy is a labour workforce which is
based on non-conventional temporary jobs mainly stemming from the service sector
unlike the traditional forms of employment known to us. A gig worker in section
2(35) Code on Social Securities, 2020 is defined as:
A person who performs work
or participates in a work arrangement and earns from such activities outside of
traditional employer-employee relationships.
Freelance workers, independent
consultants and contractors usually are a few examples of gig workers. Platform
workers are the other set of important stakeholders arising out of the gig
economy and are defined in section 2(55) as:
A form of employment in which organisations or individuals use an online platform to access other
organisations or individuals to solve specific problems or to provide specific
services in exchange for payment.
Delivery agents from online aggregator
companies such as Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo and cab/auto drivers from companies such
as Ola and Uber are example of platform workers.
These on demand part time work has turned out to be a very attractive and
lucrative option for lot of people to escape the soaring unemployment in India.
India's gig economy currently consists of around 10 million workers and is
projected to grow to another 90 million in the next 8 years. The Associated
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India has found that the gig economy in
India is growing at a CAG rate of 17% and will reach $455 billion by the year
This tremendous growth rate of the gig industry coupled with the absence of a
strong legal/stautory framework governing the gig economy will inevitably make
things complicated, in fact there have already been instances where drivers in
Delhi have vehemently protested against major aggregator companies, Ola and Uber.
Delhi Commercial Driver Union Vs Union Of India & Others
The drivers in Delhi claimed that they are "being subjected to exploitation
everyday with respect to their pay and service conditions, and denied benefits
under several labour laws as well as their fundamental rights by Uber and Ola"
A writ petition filed by a Union comprising of 1.5 lakh drivers who
were protesting against the concerning legal gaps in the Aggregator business
model used by companies such as the Ola and Uber. There were fundamental
problems which needed to be addressed in this case like whether these cab
drivers were employees by the definition, of Ola and Uber, will there be
security compensation in case of accident or death.
It was noted that there
exists 'arbitrary and whimsical alteration in payment terms and service
conditions of the drivers on daily basis without prior notice' the petition also
read 'Once the customer makes a booking, respondent no. 5-6 [Uber and Ola] by
using their internal systems, searches for registered drivers available around
the customer's location.
The respondent no. 5-6 exercise their sole discretion
in selecting a driver to service the ride. The element of freedom and
independent decision-making on part of the driver is non-existent in the entire
sequence of actions. The chargeable fare keeps varying on a daily basis on the
whims of the respondent no.5-6. No prior notice is given to the driver in this
regard. Drivers' also have to suffer arbitrary deductions in their payments on
vague and unsubstantiated grounds, without even giving them a chance to
respond'. The petition was eventually withdrawn before the court could even
form an opinion
Dynamex Operations West Inc. v The Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Also known as the Dynamex case
was not only a landmark judgment but also was one
of the foundational acts of regulating the Gig economy in the USA. This
judgment seeks to identify the gig and platform workers as employees by the way
of a 3-tier test, it ruled that a worker is an employee and will only be called
an independent contractor if the hiring entity can prove that the worker
Code on Social Securities, 2020
- In connection with the performance of the work, the worker is free from
the hiring entity's control and direction.
- The worker generally performs work which is outside the ambit of the
work prescribed by the hiring entity.
- When the worker is involved in a typically self- established business,
trade or occupation
The Code of Social Securities, 2020 is one out of the 4 new proposed
legislations as a form of massive labor reforms done to consolidate the current
44 laws governing the labour sector, out of which 9 of these laws have been
condensed into the Code of Social Securities itself. As the name suggests the
object of this code is to universalize social security and employment and
protect workers from financial and social vulnerability. The code aims to extend
the coverage of benefits under the non-traditional forms of employment to
the gig workers and platform workers. This is the first instance where India has
formally acknowledged the existence of the new age gig economy.
Further it mandates the union and state government to frame welfare schemes
extending the benefits such life and disability cover, accident insurance,
health and maternity benefits, old age protection, creche facilities or any
other benefit deemed necessary by the central government. These schemes will be
partly funded by the union and state governments and also by collection
contributions of aggregators which should be more than 1% but less than 2%.
code also mandates all the workers both platform and gig to compulsorily
register themselves with the government vis a vis an online portal to claim the
aforementioned benefits, further stipulating a criterion to be eligible for such
- should have completed 16 years of age and less than 60;
- The worker has worked for not less than ninety days during the preceding
- Submitting a self-declaration containing all the details electronically
or by any manner prescribed by the government.
- Application of all the workers (platform, gig, unorganized) with
documents and compulsory attachment of Aadhar.
The gig economy in India is booming and has a massive potential to generate
employment and contribute to the economy. There are a number of start-ups
popping up due to multiple advantages of the gig economy. The code on social
securities was definitely the need of the hour, but the regulatory framework of
the gig economy has still a long way to go.
The lack of acknowledgement of gig
workers in other codes is problematic for effective implementation and creates
ambiguity when it comes to minimum wages and other forms of protection. There is
also an overlap of definitions making the process even complicated.
Unlike the Dynamex case, the code also refrained from giving gig and platform workers the
employee status. Moreover, there isn't a definitive timeline of accountability
in place. The governments and the judiciary sooner or later have to come up with
a viable framework to regulate the gig economy, as the Code on Social Securities
is just a start.
- Gig (Dictionary.cambridge.org, 2021) accessed 29 October 2021
- Code on Social Securities, 2020
- Code on Social Securities, 2020
- Prashant Nanda, India's gig workers may service 90 million jobs in next
8-10 years mint (2021), https://www.livemint.com/news/india/gig-economy-may-service-90-mn-jobs-in-non-farm-sector-11617098463776.html
(last visited Oct 29, 2021).
- (2021) accessed 29 October 2021.
- (Images.assettype.com, 2021) accessed 29 October 2021.
- 'Dynamex Operations West, Inc. V. Superior Court - S222732 - Mon,
04/30/2018 | California Supreme Court Resources' (Scocal.stanford.edu, 2021)
accessed 29 October 2021.
- Code on Social Securities, 2020
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Rahul Jayapala Reddy
Authentication No: JA3863730187-25-0122