[CJP Insights] ESOPs for gig-workers

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in a July 8 report drafted by its expert group, has suggested amending the definition of the term ‘employee’ in its Share-Based Employee Benefits Regulations (2014).

The moot point was whether contractual or part-time workers, also called ‘gig workers’, and those on probation or deputation, could be included in the definition of employees. This could, for instance, include people engaged a web based platform for delivery services e.g. Zomato, transport services e.g. Uber.

Called Tsops — teacher stock options — this recognises the value of gig workers. The move, a first by a unicorn, could be a game changer in wealth creation for low-income workers by reducing rising inequality for India’s new workforce.

The TSOPs will be offered at the time of completing three, four and five years with the platform.

“On Day One (which is today) we already have more than 300 educators eligible for the grant which they will get immediately. Over the next few years, we will give grants of over $40M to our educators,” Munjal said in a tweet

Now given the increasing importance of gig-workers in the start-up’s success, offering ESOPs could be a step in the right direction.

Typically corporates will have a few permanent employees who are basically deadwood but survive through maneuvering the organizational hierarchy

But gig workers do not have that luxury.

They have to perform or perish.

Considering that gig-workers have been an efficient source of getting work done for most companies, offering ESOPs is both justice as well as a source of competitive advantage for an employer in the war for specialised talent.

And this can build a sense of ownership even if they are for the short term

And this is a welcome move considering instances where workers of a Zomato and Swiggy have been vocal about reduction in pay and lack of payment for additional fuel costs. Or say drivers on `Ola and Uber have also gone on strikes in the past to complain about reduced earnings.

Maybe you can also think of offering ESOPs to your key business partners such as CAJobPortal.com, who help you recruit top finance talent 🙂

With global trends post Covid-19 changing the way we conceptualize work, workplace, and workforce , ESOPS would be a game changer

What’s your view on this ?