When the G20 Ministers of Labour and Employment met in Indore, India on 21 July, social protection for platform workers, global skill gaps and financing of social security were at the centre of attention. The International Social Security Association (ISSA) contributed as a knowledge partner to the discussions.
India holds the G20 Presidency this year, and it gathered ministers and experts for three days of discussions on labour, employment and social protection issues in Indore, the largest city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The Ministerial meeting on 21 July was preceded by the Employment Working Group meeting on 19 and 20 July. Adequate social protection for workers in the gig and platform economy, and sustainable financing of adequate social protection were two of three focus areas for the discussions, in addition to addressing global skill gaps.
These priorities were stressed by the Indian Minister of Labour and Employment, Bhupender Yadav, who also highlighted the key role of the ISSA member organizations, the Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) and the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), for the protection of workers in India. He expressed thanks to the ISSA, International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD for their contributions as knowledge partners in the G20s labour and employment track.
One report delivered by the ISSA, ILO and OECD focusses on providing adequate and sustainable social protection for workers in the gig and platform economy. In his presentation to the G20 Ministers, ISSA President Dr Mohammed Azman pointed out that while the number of platform workers have increased drastically, existing social security systems have significant challenges to ensure coverage and adequate benefits for these workers. Most G20 countries have taken regulatory action to respond to this situation, however, it is mostly for in-situ workers who are in the same location as their client, while online workers receive significantly less attention.
“The commitment must be to ensure equal social security coverage for all types of platform workers.”
ISSA President Dr Mohammed Azman at the G20 Ministers of Labour and Employment Meeting
“The commitment must be to ensure equal social security coverage for all types of platform workers,” said President Azman. To achieve this objective, legislative and regulatory actions must go hand in hand with strengthened implementation capacities. The ISSA President highlighted innovations in facilitating registration and contribution payments for platform workers, enforcing compliance by platforms to ensure the social security protection of their workers, and awareness and information campaign. In addition, new ways of data sharing between platforms, workers and authorities are important and need to be accompanied by appropriate incentives and data protection regulations. The G20 Ministers called on the ISSA, ILO and OECD to establish a mechanism for collecting and sharing information on relevant and up-to-date policy, good practices, and administrative approaches undertaken in G20 countries and beyond.
The meetings in Indore also focussed on the broader issue of sustainable financing of social protection, which is a key issue in times of social and economic uncertainties. The G20 acknowledged that the resources needed for achieving universal social protection vary across G20 countries and pointed to the need to look for innovative financing models and mechanisms. Circling back to platform and gig workers, the ISSA President emphasised in his presentation that adequacy and financing considerations call for extending contributory approaches, although non-contributory mechanisms can contribute to basic protection.
For more reading on social protection for platform workers, the ISSA published an analysis article on international developments earlier this year, and focussed on European developments in a special issue of the International Social Security Review in 2021.