CPHS Captures Gig Workers

by Preetha Joseph

Employment data is one of the most widely followed and utilized category of CPHS data. CPHS currently has 8 indicators covering various aspects of the labour market. One among these is the EMPLOYMENT_ARRANGEMENT indicator. This data field provides a sense of the degree of job security in employment. In general, a permanent salaried job is more secure than a temporary salaried job which in turn is more secure than self-employment, and the employment arrangement of the daily wage earner is the least secure. Till Wave 25, employed individuals were classified into the following categories:

  1. Salaried - Permanent
  2. Salaried - Temporary
  3. Self-employed
  4. Daily Wage worker/Casual labour

Considering the rise of the ‘Gig Economy’ as well as suggestions from the research community, we have endeavoured to create separate classifications for ’gig workers’ under this indicator. ‘Gig worker’ is generally used to term self-employed contractual employees or freelance workers. They can involve work through a digital platform that connect clients and workers. Common examples include drivers for platform-based companies such as Uber, auto drivers, and delivery workers. Previously, all of such workers were classified in CPHS as ‘Self-employed’ and ‘Salaried - Temporary’.

From Wave 26, the ‘Self-employed’ and ‘Salaried - Temporary’ categories will be replaced by the following 4 categories, in the EMPLOYMENT_ARRANGEMENT indicator:

  1. Self-employed not on a digital platform: Persons who work for themselves, earning income from their trade or business (including agriculture or farm business) and do not rely on any digital platform or app for work. They could be working freelance or could be the owner of a business. Such a person could be working from a home, or an office premise.
  2. Digital platform based self-employed: Persons who are self-employed and their major source of employment is a mobile app. They are paid a fixed or variable amount based on the work done. Here, the companies that run such apps allocate work only when it is available. Such a person should have the ability to start and end working whenever it is convenient for them like any other self-employed person. For example, it is possible for taxi drivers to accept work from Ola/Uber apps at any time of the day when they are free and they can stop accepting rides when they want to stop working. A self-employed auto-driver, delivery worker, cab driver, etc who allocates a major part of their working hours to such apps will be included here.
  3. Salaried, temporary not on a digital platform: Persons with a steady source of regular income in the form of a salary from a job. The nature of the job may be regarded as temporary if it is understood by both employer and the employee that the termination of the job is determined by objective conditions such as reaching a certain date, completion of an assignment, or return of another employee who has been temporarily replaced. This includes contractual employees or workers who work for a fixed duration of the contract, or are hired for the completion of a specific task, interns, apprentices, and trainees. Although working on a temporary basis, these employees get salaries on a regular basis and have a definite duration of employment or work.
  4. Digital platform based salaried temporary: Persons who are hired by a self-employed person who uses a digital platform/app to allocate work to such workers. Such jobs are mainly temporary and the employer does not guarantee the employee can work for the same employer. The employer here determines the salary of the employee and not the app. Their work timings and duration are fixed by the employer.

Thus, the EMPLOYMENT_ARRANGEMENT indicator will henceforth have 6 categories. This will reflect in the data for Wave 26 onwards. The 6 categories are as follows:

  1. Salaried - Permanent
  2. Self-employed not on a digital platform
  3. Digital platform based self-employed
  4. Salaried, temporary not on a digital platform
  5. Digital platform based salaried temporary
  6. Daily Wage worker/Casual labour

A complete list and definitions of all 644 CPdx indicators are available here.

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