Brazil mulls social security plan for mobile app workers

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Food delivery bags are pictured as Brazilian delivery people for Uber Eats, Rappi and other delivery apps protest as part of a strike to demand better wages and working conditions, amid the disease outbreak coronavirus (COVID-19), in Sao Paulo, Brazil July 25, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

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BRASILIA, April 27 (Reuters) – The Brazilian government is studying the creation of a new social security system for workers in mobile applications, particularly for delivery and transport services, Labor Minister Jose Carlos Oliveira said on Wednesday. .

Tech companies and construction workers would contribute to the new welfare system, which will be proposed as legislation before the end of this year, the minister told reporters.

“Finding a new model for legislation is not easy,” Oliveira said, adding that the proposal was crafted with input from tech companies and service providers on their apps.

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The aim is to reduce the precarious conditions of app workers, whose numbers have grown exponentially in recent years with the growth of ride-hailing apps such as Uber Technologies (UBER.N) and 99, as well as delivery services of food like Rappi and iFood.

One of the challenges in Brazil has been how to include app workers in social security coverage, allowing them to receive more than minimum wage when they retire, without subjecting them to the strict labor code of the country for full-time employees.

“Workers have made it clear that they do not want to become full-time employees. They want to remain independent to retain the freedom to define their working hours and days, as they do today,” the vice said. -Minister of Labor Bruno Dalcolmo, who leads the discussions.

The proposal under consideration would involve payments by companies while establishing that there is no formal employment relationship with their workers, Dalcolmo said.

“Companies know that they will have to contribute and that they have to improve the relationship with their workers,” he added.

On the employers’ side, the main concern is not to create legislation so strict that it undermines their business models and reduces competition, officials said.

Representatives for Uber, 99, Rappi and iFood did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Today, app workers can contribute to social security as individual microentrepreneurs, but most do not.

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Reporting by Lisandra Paraguasu Additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo; Written by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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