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News Article

Social Security Pilot for Delivery App Workers

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 10/08/2021 - 16:10

Apps and digital delivery platforms have been blooming for years now. While this represents new job opportunities, working conditions are less than ideal for employees. IMSS is working to solve some of these issues.

On a recently signed agreement between IMSS and Beat, DiDi, Rappi and Uber, these platforms will encourage drivers and delivery users to participate in a pilot test to become independent workers. According to the institute, by participating in the pilot test, both drivers and delivery people, as well as their beneficiaries, will obtain comprehensive social security coverage. The platforms emphasized the benefits of the sharing economy and called on employees to participate in the pilot test.

This initiative responds to the Mandatory Social Security Regime for independent workers. This grants workers access to five benefits: diseases and maternity care; work risk protection; disability and life insurance; retirement, unemployment in old age and old age insurance and nurseries and other social benefits. Additionally, workers may register their legal beneficiaries, such as spouses, parents and children.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the International Labor Organization (ILO) found that these types of platforms are generally not responsible for the social and labor protection of their workers, who, according to companies, are seen as “partners.” For people that use this platforms as a complementary source of income, this generally does not affect their personal situation, according to ILO, as they access social security through another job.

“Over 80 percent of our couriers work less than three days a week,” shared with MBN Alejandro Solís, Director General of Rappi. “This means that they are doing other things on the remaining days. They are studying or receiving another income.” Gretta González, General Manager Shared Rides at Uber México, told MBN that partners “look at Uber as a way to generate additional income.” However, others do see it as their main source of income, which has led the company to improve its services.

In this context, categorizing companies’ “partners” as self-employed would only contribute to the precariousness of working conditions. To advance the debate on the proper regulation of platform work, ILO has proposed, based on existing international labor standards, a series of guidelines that may be useful for social dialogue at the national and global levels. These guidelines include granting adequate social security benefits to all workers, including platform workers, expanding and adapting policy and legal frameworks where necessary.

In Mexico, Uber was one of the first companies seeking to offer better conditions to platform workers. According to a report by Bloomberg, Uber Technologies began talks with the Mexican government on ways to contribute to the social security system on behalf of its contractors without designating them as full employees.

Photo by:   Dan Gold on Unsplash
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst