There has been a significant increase in the demand for gig and platform workers in recent years due to the rapid digitalisation in the labour markets, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Companies usually classify these workers as “self-employed independent contractors” because they are not bound by the traditional “employer-employee” relationship. But there should not be a blanket classification as in certain cases, companies exert substantial control over the working conditions of these workers, which arguably puts them into the category of “workers” and not “independent contractors”. The primary aim of this research paper will be to analyse this growing issue of “misclassification” of gig and platform workers as “independent contractors” in all cases, thereby denying them of their well-deserved employment rights and benefits.
In India, gig and platform workers have recently been recognised under the Code on Social Security, 2019 (“CSS”) but have still not been given any substantial rights or protection. Since the issue of misclassification is widespread in India, an analysis into the relevant Indian case-laws has been done to understand how to effectively classify gig and platform workers. For further clarity, the outlook of International courts have been analysed to efficiently understand how to determine the nature of employment relationships. It is essential to correctly classify these workers as it determines the kind of social-security benefits that they receive. Through this in-depth analysis, I have come to the conclusion that the classification of these workers should be done on a “case by case” basis depending on the “real” nature of their work and by applying the various tests laid down by courts across jurisdictions.