Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
KK!HR
Management Consultancy

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In an Ecommerce Company, Delivery boys are engaged through a contractor. They report to the local warehouse everyday morning and spends an hour in the warehouse to take possession of the allocated items to be delivered to customers. The delivery boys sequence the items as per their route, fill the items in their delivery bag and make entries in the system of the company. The delivery steps out of the warehouse for delivery of products to the customer, delivers the items for 5 to 6 hours and returns back to the warehouse with undelivered items and cash collected from the customers. He deposits the cash, gets it tallied and surrenders the undelivered products and leaves for the day.

Opinion Required: Can the delivery boys be treated as Outworkers as per the definition of Workmen under Section 2 (1) (i) C and be treated outside the purview of Contract Labour Act?

2. Definitions.—(1)

(i) “workman” means any person employed in or in connection with the work of any establishment to do any skilled, semi-skilled or un-skilled manual, supervisory, technical or clerical work for hire or reward, whether the terms of employment be express or implied, but does not include any such person—

(A) who is employed...

(B) who, being employed in a supervisory...

(C) who is an out-worker, that is to say, a person to whom any articles or materials are given out by or on behalf of the principal employer to be made up, cleaned, washed, altered,

ornamented, finished, repaired, adapted or otherwise processed for sale for the purposes of the trade or business of the principal employer and the process is to be carried out either in the home of the out-worker or in some other premises, not being premises under the control and management of the principal employer.

From India, Pune
The delivery boys are the direct employees of the E-Commerce company. The e-commerce company has agreement with several organisations whose products they are selling door to door. But they cannot be the employees of such manufacturers as they are not exclusive to a particular manufacturer. For example the Amazon employee deals with products of 'N' number of manufacturers so it would become difficult. So in such cases they cannot be termed Outworkers, but if there is any exclusivity then the position would be different
From India, Mumbai
Dear friend,
I am in total agreement with the views of our learned KK(!)HR. In the e-commerce set up of retail sales, the principal players are the e-commerce company and the manufacturer/seller of goods. In the absence of own warehousing facility by the e-commerce company, local warehouses act as a contractor for the e.commerce company. Either the warehouses have their own delivery arrangement or the e-commerce company appoints separate contractors for delivery through their own delivery boys. Therefore, the direct employment relationship of delivery boys depends on who among these engages their services. Besides these facts, I would request you to re-read clause (c) of the definition. The out-work mentioned therein is a manufacturing process done by the out-worker elsewhere other than the PE's premises and returned the materials received as finished products. How can the activity of a delivery boy engaged through a contractor be correlated to a manufacturing activity? Just because delivery of the goods ordered on-line at the doors of the customers happens outside the premises of the PE, such workers cannot be considered as out-workers so defined under the sub clause.

From India, Salem
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