Those searching for a workable model should look no further than the UAE Labour Law.

A historic bill passed by the California Senate means gig economy workers in the state will soon be legally treated as employees if they are integral to their company's operations instead of contract workers as they are currently classified. For the uninitiated, in a gig economy, companies hire temps, freelancers, and independent contractors instead of full-time workers to fulfill their short-term and interim requirements. To give you a local example, you may see college students manning the pavilions of digital retailers at the upcoming Gitex Shopper show in Dubai. It works well for both the parties - the students earn some real-life experience and pocket money while tech retailers benefit from the acumen and industry of young, digital natives without having to spare resources from their existing stores for a short duration.

Those searching for a workable model should look no further than the UAE Labour Law, which guards the workers' welfare and puts in checks and balances so that employers cannot exploit vulnerable workers. Every worker here needs to be on a registered contract, which then mandates health insurance and other worker benefits, something that is conspicuous by its absence for the gig economy worker. While certain commentators have, in the past, criticised such policies for being stringent and inflexible, it is clear now that it is exactly the need of the hour to ensure worker protection and to avoid their abuse.

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