‘Many workers in gig economy earn less than minimum wage’

A study published by the Institute of Public Policy (IPP) of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) on jobs in platform economy or gig economy has documented below the minimum wage earning, despite working beyond eight hours a day.

The study ‘Is Platform Work Decent Work? A Case of Food Delivery Workers in Karnataka’ also said that none of the workers in the sample set of the study earned their base wage.

During the course of the study, which spanned over a year from March last year, the researchers spoke to workers engaged with various food delivery platforms in Karnataka.

Taking into consideration the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the industry, the study said, “The employers took advantage of widespread urban unemployment to force workers to accept lower earning rates for their work.”

Hence the study recommended that the government should recognise gig employees as workers and bring the sector within the ambit of labour laws and that there was a need to prescribe a minimum standard for earnings.

“The situation of the gig workers during the pandemic gives lie to the myth perpetuated by industry that these workers are independent contractors. The dependent and unequal relationship is patent in the unilateral behaviour of the employers to drive down working conditions,” the study observed.

Problem with incentives

Workers also claimed that they were not given the incentive despite reaching targets, even if they were a minute late. Workers also lost on the incentives part if they had technical glitches and network issues, even if they were in the basements or elevators for delivery.

According to the study, one of the food delivery platform did not pay incentives if workers “denied” more than one order a day and denials due to the fault of customers or the platform itself is not taken into consideration.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 6:12:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/many-workers-in-gig-economy-earn-less-than-minimum-wage/article33179955.ece

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