Connect with us

Workers

Daily Wage Labourers, Gig Workers Hit Worst by COVID-19 Crisis

Published

on

Even as more and more Indians are being tested positive for the novel coronavirus with each passing day, several individuals are refusing to restrict their movement—or stay at home—despite being urged by the government to do so. Social distancing is crucial for controlling the spread of the infection that has claimed third life in the country on Tuesday and left many more dead across the world.

However, it should be noted that a large chunk of the people who are stepping out—accused of not being cautious enough—comprises daily wage earners.

Kishan Dev, 50, an auto driver in Delhi, where several cases of the virus have been confirmed, is forced to make a difficult choice: whether to accept rides or stay at home for his and his family’s safety. He chooses the former.

Bimari ki tension nahi hai saheb, khaane ki hai,” he jested with the help of a Bollywood film dialogue. The matter of the fact, nonetheless, remains that there is no alternative available for him owing to his financial responsibilities.

“I used to earn about Rs 600 a day earlier. Now, with markets getting closed, and people choosing not to come out because of the disease, it is difficult to make even half of that amount,” Dev said. “If this is how it goes, I’ll surely die of hunger. I won’t need the disease.”

Similar were the hardships that now seem to be mounting for Dheeraj Thakur, 48, who works as a security guard in one of the many parking lots looked after by Delhi’s Municipal Corporation.

Thakur, who gets commission from his contractor for every vehicle that is parked in the lot, is now mulling return to his village in Bihar. “There are almost zero parkings in a day now. The government has ordered closures. They should have thought about us as well. How are we going to make a living? If everything’s shut and there’s no work, how will our families survive?”

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government on Monday decided to shut gyms, nightclubs, spas and not allow any gathering of more than 50 people till March 31. A similar response to the coronavirus pandemic can be observed elsewhere, with states, metropolitan cities reportedly entering the ‘shutdown mode’.

Also read: COVID-19: Bihar Govt to Give Only Rs 7.5 Per Meal to Children Deprived of Midday Meals

For those, whose employment pertains to providing service and which involves their contact with the mobile population, the recently imposed restrictions can not be of much help. What’s more is that most of them have been forced into a vulnerable position and are bound to suffer the economic consequences of the shutdown.

Ravi Kashyap, a gig worker who works with Shadowfax, a delivery platform, says he has no choice but to go out and work—collect and deliver—even more so now, as the number of orders has decreased these days. “In my 12-hour work day, I complete 30 orders. That means I interact at least 60 times in a day with people who could be carrying the virus. The company has provided no masks or sanitisers. No medical or health insurance. If I am tested positive, I don’t even think that I’ll get paid for the days when I won’t work,” said the 33-year old.

Kashyap, predominantly delivers food for Swiggy and Zomato, but is not technically employed by them as the job has been outsourced to Shadowfax. He is one among many who are and have been forced to work despite being sick in the past. “I am aware of the coronavirus. I wash hands at whichever restaurant allows. My earnings are getting affected these days and that poses a bigger challenges to me” he said.

Suggesting a “slowdown” in the domestic economic growth as a “second round of effects” of the coronavirus pandemic, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das reportedly said in a press conference on Tuesday that COVID-19 can affect economic activity in India.

“The government must intervene and work towards socially protecting these workers… these type of situations clearly require the government to provide social protections, and various subsidies to workers whose earnings are getting kicked,” K R Shyam Sundar, professor of human resource management at Jamshedpur’s XLRI, said, while speaking to NewsClick on Sunday.

Referring to the fact that this very Narendra Modi-led BJP government has waived corporate taxes earlier to the tune of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, reportedly to stimulate the crisis-ridden economy, Sundar asked if that can happen, why not social protection arrangements for millions of workers.

“Here you have a situation of existential risks. Can the finance minster or the prime minister or the health minister not create a special notification providing all kinds of necessities of life to these workers?” he questioned. “This may not even require 1.45 lakh crore,” he added.

Also read: Isolations, Cancelled Leaves and Soap: How the Sport World is Dealing with the Coronavirus

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Workers

Buckle Reinvents Insurance Model for Gig Economy with $31 Million Series A Funding

Published

on

By

JERSEY CITY, N.J.–()–Buckle, a tech-enabled financial services company, has filed its Regulation D and disclosed it raised $31 million through its Series A funding round co-led by HSCM Bermuda and Eos Venture Partners. Addressing gaps in conventional insurance policies that leave gig workers underinsured, Buckle is using the funding to reinvent the insurance model with new sources of data to underwrite risk, making insurance comprehensive, affordable, and easy to obtain for rideshare drivers.

“Whether rideshare drivers are on duty or driving their family around on personal time, Buckle will have them covered,” said Dustin Walsey, co-founder of Buckle. “We are excited to offer comprehensive, easy-to-understand insurance to active rideshare drivers for overall better personal protection.”

In 2019, Buckle launched its core rideshare insurance policy that combines personal and commercial coverages, in collaboration with Munich Re’s Digital Partners. Earlier this year, it expanded the program through a partnership with Lyft.

In June, Buckle announced the acquisition and recapitalization of Gateway Insurance Company (Gateway), including its 47 state insurance licenses. Now, through Gateway, Buckle is expanding insurance coverage to include transportation network companies (TNCs), traditional taxi, limo, and livery businesses using the Curb app.

“The ride-hailing market is expected to grow globally to approximately $260 billion by 2024,” said Vikas Singhal, Partner and CIO of Insurtech at HSCM Bermuda. “As the market grows, demand for straight-forward and affordable insurance coverage for both providers and TNCs will grow with it. We’re excited to help the Buckle team take the company to the next level.”

“The rideshare and dispatched delivery markets need specialized insurance expertise,” said Jonathan Kalman, Founding General Partner at Eos Venture Partners. “Buckle has built a comprehensive insurance solution to this growing market.”

Buckle plans to launch other products and partnerships as it expands nationwide.

About HSCM Bermuda

HSCM Bermuda is an asset manager focused on investments in the Re/Insurance and Transportation sectors. HSCM was launched in 2016 and focuses on core economic sectors that are likely to outgrow global GDP, offer low correlations with broader markets, and are experiencing a shift from balance sheet and to market financing. For more information about HSCM Bermuda, please visit www.hscm.com.

About Eos Venture Partners

Eos Venture Partners is a global independent Strategic Venture Capital Fund focused exclusively on InsurTech, investing in early and growth stage technology businesses that accelerate innovation and transformation across the insurance industry and value chain. Eos was founded in 2016 to bridge the “digital chasm” between InsurTech start-ups and traditional (re)insurance companies. Investors in the Eos fund, EVP I, are from the insurance sector, forming a close strategic relationship with the Eos team to capture both strategic and financial value from the innovation and technology change in the insurance industry. See more at: www.eosventurepartners.com.

About Buckle

Buckle offers total insurance coverage specifically for rideshare and other gig economy providers and TNCs, looking to get coverage that’s fair and simple. Buckle Rideshare Insurance isn’t a gap product that supplements an existing policy, but replaces a driver’s current auto insurance, providing continuous 24×7 coverage on-and-off the clock with one low rate. Connect with Buckle on Facebook and LinkedIn and visit www.buckleup.com.

All trademarks recognized.

Source link

Continue Reading

Workers

CERB 2.0? Trudeau Hints at New Benefit for Gig Workers

Published

on

By

The CERB may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean out-of-work Canadians can’t still get benefits.

That’s the takeaway from a recent statement by PM Justin Trudeau, who announced that his government had been working on a “21st century EI system.” In covering Trudeau’s statement, the Canadian Press reported that the revamped EI system would replace the CERB, bringing more Canadians under coverage — including one group of Canadians who had been sorely neglected until the CERB came into effect.

An “EI-like benefit” for gig workers

One of the main beneficiaries of Trudeau’s “transitional EI-like benefit” would be gig workers. Under current rules, gig workers are considered self-employed. That means that they’re opted out of EI by default. Gig workers can indicate that they want to pay in to EI, but usually don’t. The self-employed pay twice the usual rate on CPP; passing on EI premiums is a way to partially offset that extra tax. As a result, many self-employed Canadians aren’t covered by EI.

Trudeau’s new EI benefit could remedy that. While details on the plan are scarce so far, it appears that there will be an interim benefit to cover non-EI eligible Canadians, followed by a totally revamped EI system. It’s hard to predict exactly what the latter will consist of, but the former will probably be regular EI with looser eligibility requirements.

Why this is good news

While many out-of-work Canadians may bemoan the loss of the $2,000 a month benefit, it may ultimately be a good thing. The CERB has always been beset by concerns about eligibility and fraud. Many Canadians have reported being “scared” to spend their CERB money, and ominous CRA statements probably haven’t helped with that.

Getting back to EI could therefore be a welcome development. While the average monthly amount isn’t as high as the CERB, EI has fewer eligibility questions hanging over it. As a result, individuals receiving EI may feel more free to spend it.

For example, if you received $1,000 a month in EI, you could spend that money on investments. If you took $1,000 worth of EI and spent it on shares in Fortis, you’d be within your rights to do so. After all, it’s a program you paid in to, and if you’ve been laid off, you’re eligible to benefit from it. It doesn’t matter how you spend the money.

With the CERB, it’s not quite so simple. There’s been a big question mark about eligibility ever since the program began, and spending CERB money on non-essential items has been frowned upon. If you took $1,000 worth of CERB money and bought FTS shares with it, that wouldn’t make you ineligible. However, it could be inconvenient if the shares declined in value, and you were later forced to repay the CERB. With EI, you always know that you’re entitled to the money you’re getting, as applications are pre-screened for eligibility. As a result, you can sleep soundly no matter how you spend the money — be it on groceries, Fortis shares, or anything in between.

On the topic of investments…

Just Released! 5 Stocks Under $49 (FREE REPORT)

Motley Fool Canada‘s market-beating team has just released a brand-new FREE report revealing 5 “dirt cheap” stocks that you can buy today for under $49 a share.
Our team thinks these 5 stocks are critically undervalued, but more importantly, could potentially make Canadian investors who act quickly a fortune.
Don’t miss out! Simply click the link below to grab your free copy and discover all 5 of these stocks now.

Claim your FREE 5-stock report now!


Fool contributor Andrew Button has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends FORTIS INC.

Source link

Continue Reading

Workers

Observers call on National Wages Council for more aggressive wage support, office to look after gig workers, Manpower News & Top Stories

Published

on

By

In September and October 1998, as the full impact of the Asian financial crisis on Singapore’s economy became more apparent, the National Wages Council (NWC) was convened a second time that year to revise its annual wage guidelines.

Its original guidelines, issued in May, had called for wage restraint and non-wage cost-cutting measures, as the Trade and Industry Ministry forecast economic growth for the year of between 2.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent.

But as the crisis deteriorated, the growth forecast for the year was revised downwards in June to between 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

The NWC in November proposed that in addition to a 10 percentage point cut to employers’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions recommended by the Committee on Singapore’s Competitiveness, total wages for 1998 be cut by 5 per cent to 8 per cent, as compared with 1997.

This year, with Singapore headed for its worst recession since independence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, observers suggested that the council consider calling for more aggressive wage support, an office to look after gig workers and pay hikes for low-wage staff.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said in a Facebook post yesterday that the NWC will reconvene this year. The council made its annual wage guidelines in March this year.

Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) chief executive Mayank Parekh said that without the prospect of a near-term recovery of demand, there could be more job losses and wage cuts on the horizon.

“It is timely for the NWC to review its earlier recommendations and seek support for additional measures to safeguard jobs and enhance employability,” he said.

“More aggressive wage measures, higher support for job redesign and re-training and additional guidelines on retrenchment payments could be considered.”

Singapore Human Resources Institute president Low Peck Kem suggested the council look at whether the Jobs Support Scheme of wage subsidies can be extended, as well as the need for funding to facilitate job redesign for future-ready jobs.

It could also propose the setting up of a tripartite office to help and protect gig workers, who tend to fall under the radar because they do not have employers, she said.

National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Zainal Sapari said the NWC should continue to push for wage increases for low-wage workers, even amid the pandemic.

“Instead of recommending a quantum wage increase, I would like NWC to set a long-term target of where wages of these vulnerable low-wage workers who are performing essential services should be at. This could then act as a guideline for the wage increases and the necessary productivity initiatives that must be embarked upon to make it sustainable,” he added.

This is only the fourth time since being set up in 1972 that the council has been convened twice in the same year.

Aside from 1998, it also released revised recommendations in 2001, after the Sept 11 attacks on the United States, and in 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

In January 2009, the council updated its guidelines to recommend – among other things – that companies work with unions and workers to manage costs, such as through wage freezes or wage cuts, to save jobs.

The NWC had in March this year considered whether to recommend reducing CPF contribution rates to cut wage costs.

But Permanent Secretary for Manpower Aubeck Kam had said then that as the Jobs Support Scheme wage subsidy far exceeds the employer CPF contribution rates of up to 17 per cent, the Government did not feel that a cut to the rate was warranted.

DBS Bank senior economist Irvin Seah said that short of extending the JSS payouts for worst-hit industries, a temporary cut in employer CPF contribution rates could be an option the NWC considers.

But he cautioned that such a move would need to be weighed very carefully. “It would be a reduction in workers’ savings, on top of already widespread wage cuts.”

Amid reports of major retrenchment exercises in recent weeks, Mrs Teo also commented yesterday on the Fair Retrenchment Framework proposed by the NTUC last month. It includes protecting the Singaporean core of the workforce, while foreigners with special or critical skills could be retained as well.

She said in her Facebook post that the Singapore National Employers Federation will consider the framework and discuss a mutually acceptable way forward with NTUC.

In the meantime, the Manpower Ministry will continue its work on the Fair Consideration Framework, she said, adding that there would be updates soon.

“Tripartite partners are aligned on one thing – the need to support our workers and businesses through the storm brought about by Covid-19. Much work ahead,” she said.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Gigger.news.