Employment Security

Most workers in the platform economy are not regarded as employees. If they do not have an employment contract, the law essentially sees them as independent contractors who provide services to the platform or to the platform's users. However, when they perform their duties full-time and have to abide by the rules of the platform, a judge can conclude the workers are actually employed. The draft Code on Social Security 2019 defines a gig worker as "a person who performs work or participates in a work arrangement and earns from such activities outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship"

Written Employment Particulars

There is no provision in the above labour law that requires an employer to provide a written statement of particulars to a newly hired employee. However, a written appointment letter or employment contract is signed between the employer and the worker as a matter of practice.

The written document may contain the following information: name and address of the employer; name and address of the employee; title of the job or nature of work to be performed by the employee (or job description); place of work and hours of work; and probation, if any, and its term, etc. The employers may also incorporate the following information into employment contract: option of the employer to transfer an employee from one office to another branch office, affiliate, etc.; date of commencement of employment; wages or salary details (overtime wages); any benefits that an employee is entitled to (gratuity, provident fund and pension); type of contract – permanent or fixed-term; period of notice required for termination of employment; leave entitlement; conditions under which the employer can terminate the contract; and non-compete, confidentiality and non-solicitation provisions, etc. 

 

Fixed Term Contracts

Indian labour Law allows hiring fixed term contract workers for tasks of permanent nature. There is no maximum length of fixed term contracts provided under the labour laws.

Employment of contract labour is allowed under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. The Central Government (or Provincial Government) may, after consultation with the Central Board or a State Board, prohibit, employment of contract labour in any process, operation or other work in any establishment while considering the following factors:

(a) whether the process, operation or other work is incidental to, or necessary for the activity that is carried on in the establishment: (b) whether it is of perennial nature, it is of sufficient duration having regard to the nature of activity carried on in that establishment; (c) whether it is done ordinarily through regular workmen in that establishment or an establishment similar thereto; (d) whether it is sufficient to employ considerable number of whole-time workmen.

sources: §1&10 of the Contract Labour (Regulation And Abolition) Act, 1970

 

Non-Standard Workers' Rights on Employment Contracts - Platform workers

Under the currently applicable legislation in India, the platform workers are not employed by the platform. These workers use the platform to perform specific tasks, to which they can give substance in their own way, as long as it matches with the rules of the platform and the pre-arranged expectations of the people or organisations they are providing services for. Both parties, worker and platform, can terminate the agreement directly, at any given moment. Such service agreements are regulated under the Indian Contract Act 1872.

Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 (“CLRA Act”) regulates the engagement of contract labour through third-party contractors to do specific tasks in connection with the work of an establishment. The digital labour platforms can be interpreted as contractors under the CLRA. If this happens, it would require digital platforms to obtain a license and comply with requirements under the Act. Similarly, it would require contractors to ensure certain rights to the contract labour, i.e., platform workers as are available to the regular workers.

Probation Period

Under section 2 of the Model Standing Order, probation period is usually 6 months however it can be extended by a by a period of three months at a time at the discretion of management. The maximum probation period can't exceed two years. A person is employed as a probationer generally to fill a permanent vacancy in a post. If a permanent employee is employed as a probationer in a new post he may, at any time during the probationary period, be reverted to his old permanent post.

Source: §2 of the Model Standing Orders

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