Amid an increasing debate around road safety of delivery partners, food tech platform Zomato has said their well-being is in the best interest of all, and that its delivery partners have access to healthcare and accident covers.

Zomato has said it spent ₹15.95 crore on medical insurance cover in 2021-22. "In FY22, 9,210 partners were supported with ₹15.95 crore worth of disbursements, out of which ₹9.8 crore were purely used for a hospitalisation against illnesses and diseases," says Zomato, adding that in all, there were 26 cases where hospitalisation spend was over ₹1 lakh.

“The amount was covered in full,” says Zomato.

Zomato and other food-tech players are often accused of not giving enough priority to the wellbeing of their delivery partners, and risking their lives by introducing services like ‘10-minute' delivery. Studies suggest delivery partners spend around 60% of their time on the road, which put them at higher risk of road-related mishaps.

Zomato says to ensure delivery partners prioritise their health and to reward “loyal” ones, Zomato is now piloting a health cover worth ₹3 lakh, which is extendable to their families. Initially, the service will be rolled out in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad.

Other medical cover facilities offered by the listed private delivery player include OPD support and financial assistance in case of injury while working. Zomato says it offers ₹5,000 worth of Out-Patient Department (OPD) support, which can also be extended to delivery partners' families.

"In FY22, 13,645 delivery partners and their families benefitted from OPD support, with ₹2.3 crore disbursed in claim amount," says Zomato. For a delivery partner who gets injured, causing a temporary disability, Zomato says it offers a loss of pay of ₹525 per day up to ₹50,000. In case of an unfortunate accident leading to the delivery partner's death, life cover worth ₹10,00,000 is provided, including the amount for funeral expenses.

Notably, most delivery partners are not permanent employees and are contract workers, who get paid on a per-order basis. They also don't get other benefits like an employee provident fund. However, companies are now extending benefits such as medical insurance and other health benefits.

Zomato rival and another major delivery player Swiggy also provides accident insurance to delivery partners at no cost, with no opt-in required in case of any injury while working. It has introduced Emergency Support Services (ESS), which includes 24*7 hotline numbers, emergency cards for delivery partners, and a direct link to the local police and ambulance service via an SOS button on its app.

After three days of consecutive fall, the Zoamto share is trading 1.21% up at ₹58.50 today on the NSE, largely in line with the benchmark Sensex that's up 0.42% currently. The share is down 53.57% since its listing on bourses in July last year. The stock is trading higher than 50-day moving averages but lower than 5-day, 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages.

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