For the salaried class, life is no bed of roses. In India, a majority of them received no social security benefits in FY22. This is according to the National Statistical Office (NSO)‘s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Annual Report for 2021-22. 

The report’s findings, which were out recently, say that out of India’s total salaried workforce, 53 per cent have no access to social security benefits. “In PLFS, the coverage of social security for regular wage/salaried employees means whether they are covered under PF/pension, gratuity, healthcare/ maternity benefits or a combination of these benefits, which are arranged or for which the employer makes a contribution,” the report noted. 

The trend isn’t quite even across genders. While 47.8 per cent of salaried men have these benefits, just 44.3 of these women have access to social security perks. 

Although things do not look that bright, the comparison of data from the previous financial years shows that things are slowly improving in India. For instance, in FY20, 53.6 per cent of salaried men had no access to social security benefits. In two years, it shrunk to 52.2 per cent. However, in the case of women, the improvement was lesser, from 56 per cent in FY20 to 55.7 per cent in FY22. 

Experts believe that things may not change so much in the upcoming financial years as well. This is because a good number of companies tend to employ people as consultants and not permanent employees.

Provident Fund is mandatory if a company employs a certain number or more people. But smaller companies try to save as much as possible without giving any of these benefits to employees,” said Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Bank of Baroda, adding that some employees also prefer being consultants and getting their entire salary as cash in hand, without any benefit. 

All’s not well in the north 

A state-wide break-up of the PLFS data shows that in FY22, 70.6 per cent of Punjab’s salaried workers had no access to any social security benefit. It was 65.1 per cent in Gujarat and 62.2 per cent each in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. 

Bigger states that did well include Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, and Assam, where only 40.1 per cent, 41.6 per cent, and 42.4 per cent of salaried workers had no access to social security benefits respectively. 

The PLFS report also shows that of all the salaried workers, 62.9 per cent of men and 59.1 per cent of women have no job contracts. More than 50 per cent of men and close to 45 per cent of women had no access to paid leaves either. 

Also read: What is the demand for menstrual pain leave all about?