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FIAP > Boletín – Otras Publicaciones > Gig Economy Work: Mind the protection gaps – The Geneva Association
29 April, 2022

Gig Economy Work: Mind the protection gaps – The Geneva Association

A global survey (covering both advanced and emerging economies) conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) found that only 60% of all digital platform workers (gig economy) are covered by health insurance and only 35% have a pension or retirement plan (private or public). Even more precarious are the levels of protection against work accidents and disability, with coverage for only 21% and 13% of the workers surveyed, respectively. These massive coverage gaps present society with the challenge of “organizing” protection for digital platform workers. Options include general taxes, social security, and private systems. Non-contributory and tax-financed social protection mechanisms are considered essential for providing at least a basic level of protection for all residents of a country, including those who are not (sufficiently) covered by contributory social insurance.

However, social security coverage for platform workers classified as self-employed is often limited. Unlike social security systems, the private system is not designed to mitigate the difficulties encountered by low-income self-employed workers or other segments of the population through wealth transfers. Having said that, private insurance has an important role to play in complementing public schemes. For example, since social security systems usually treat participants similarly in terms of benefits, these systems do little to provide incentives and mitigate risk.

Therefore, governments, digital platforms, and private insurers in collaboration with gig workers and their associations, must redesign protection frameworks in such a way that all new forms of work are safe and sustainable.

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