How Socio Tech Platform Ensuring The Health Safety Of The Gig Economy And Their Customers

The rapidly growing gig workforce is creating an economic revolution in India with the world’s largest youth population, urbanisation, internet penetration, adoption of smartphones and associated technology

The gig economy is the product of the digital disruption in the era and has become one of the biggest ongoing trends. In a report titled ‘India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy’, the NITI Ayog stated that the gig economy will employ 2.35 crore (23.5 million) people by 2029-30.

The rapidly growing gig workforce is creating an economic revolution in India with the world’s largest youth population, urbanisation, internet penetration, adoption of smartphones and associated technology. According to a Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) report for 2021, India has the potential to serve up to 90 million gig economy jobs, accounting for nearly 1.5 per cent of total GDP. Gig workers, who have emerged as a new taskforce, are those who are earning their livelihood in a different way from traditional employer-employee arrangements. They usually perform short-term jobs for which they are paid once the work is finished.

Gig workers can be categorised into two segments: platform-based and non-platform-based gig workers. Platform workers are those who get work through an online application on which they are registered. Non-platform workers are those who usually work part-time or full-time in the conventional sectors independently. Gig working has especially attracted people who require flexibility and independence in their jobs. However, sometimes they tend to either work at unprecedented or prolonged hours to earn a livelihood. In addition, they usually live under the toll of necessity or opportunity in getting jobs, and sometimes face health challenges.

Some occupational challenges faced by gig workers

Although they have the flexibility of potential work, they also deal with several health challenges regarding the nature of their work. The recent covid 19 pandemic outbreak illustrated how working on these jobs and maintaining health is necessary for these gig workers to facilitate the continuity of work. The occupational vulnerabilities of gig work are unique to the work being done and are shared with others doing similar work outside of platforms. These may include occupational health risks such as an increased risk of traffic accidents for drivers and bike delivery personnel, disease transmission, or mental health issues. According to the report, titled "Data ownership and well-being of gig workers," released by CIIE.CO, 47 per cent of gig workers do not have health insurance making it a big financial issue if the worker undergoes a medical procedure. This also includes the risk of entering unidentified containment areas to provide cleaning or caregiving services, increasing the risk of covid. However, several socio-tech platforms have understood their problems and are taking the necessary measures to keep them healthy and safe. 

The role of socio-technical platforms

At the time of the pandemic, when lockdown was implicated, industries and society were equally affected. However, as consumers' needs grew, so did the demand for food, medicine, grocery delivery, and home services. Due to the proactive role of socio-tech platforms, the gig economy and trend thrived during the strict pandemic curbs. They not only provided working continuity to these gig workers but also made sure they don’t contract covid or become carriers themselves while conducting a job.

The gig workers who are registered on these socio-tech platforms for the jobs get a myriad of benefits, including health insurance and social security. Before joining these companies, there is a primary health check and a self-declaration form to ensure the person is fit to work and does not have any harmful diseases.

The way these platforms curb the spread of a disease is that if the gig appears to be in the COVID containment zone, they do not cater to the area to maintain the safety of workers as well as other customers. All the workers are trained to sanitise themselves and always wear a shield and mask while carrying out a job in order to guarantee their health and safety. Moreover, if they receive a complaint from the customer that a gig worker is unwell, these platforms make sure they are carefully attended to, checked, provided medicine, and only allowed to work again when they are fit. Furthermore, they also perform regular health check-ups and covid tests on all the registered gig workers in order to make sure that they are fit to work.

 All things considered

We can conclude that technology has the power to provide employment to the youth of India and socio-tech platforms are making it possible efficiently. Not only are the workers getting regular jobs, timely payments, and flexibility, but they are also gaining health and social security. They are provided with micro-insurance products designed specifically for gig workers. When compared to traditional insurance products, this can assist gig economy workers in insuring themselves without a significant premium outlay.

The socio tech platform also supports the Indian government's "Code on Social Security", which provides social security benefits to workers in the thriving gig economy space, such as maternity leave, insurance, gratuity, and more. By following strict norms, vaccinating their gig workers, training them, and providing healthcare benefits, these socio-tech platforms are insuring the health and safety of workers as well as customers.

Tags assigned to this article:
gig workers health safety


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