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Monday, September 20, 2021

Stock option for teachers, a first for gig workers in India — what does Unacademy’s offer entail?

Unacademy will be offering $40 million of ‘teacher stock options’ or TSOPs to tutors on its platforms who have spent at least three years with the platform, the company’s co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal said.

Written by Pranav Mukul , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 3, 2021 11:44:35 am
The TSOPs will be offered at the time of completing three, four and five years with the platform. (Representational Photo: Pixabay)

Ed-tech unicorn Unacademy said it will offer stock options to the educators on its platforms on the lines of employee stock options that startups typically offer to their staffers. This is the first time a company in India is offering stock options to its contractual workers.

What are the details of stock options being offered by Unacademy?

Unacademy will be offering $40 million of ‘teacher stock options’ or TSOPs to tutors on its platforms who have spent at least three years with the platform, the company’s co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal said.

The TSOPs will be offered at the time of completing three, four and five years with the platform.

“On Day One (which is today) we already have more than 300 educators eligible for the grant which they will get immediately. Over the next few years, we will give grants of over $40M to our educators,” Munjal said in a tweet Thursday.

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Why is this significant?

While startups and even corporations offer employee stock options in the usual course of business, they are meant for people on the payroll of the companies. This is the first time a company is offering stock options to gig workers, or contractual workers. Also, with this plan, Softbank-backed Unacademy would be looking at preventing talent on its platform from joining its rivals such as Byju’s or Vedantu.

Why is the timing of this move important?

Unacademy’s announcement has come at a time when gig workers of several Indian startups have been complaining about poor pay and benefits.

Workers of food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy have been vocal about reduction in pay and lack of payment for additional fuel costs. Similarly, drivers on cab-aggregator platforms like Ola and Uber have also gone on strikes in the past to complain about reduced earnings.

According to a report by BCG, there are over 200 million gig workers. The report has said that while gig work remained broadly attractive to workers, specific pain points remained unaddressed. “These are typically related to work assurance, timely payments, learning and personality development and regular salary increments,” it added.

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