MPs Suggest Protection for Freelancers in a Rising Gig Economy

March 3, 20178:33 am878 views

Increasing talent demand for part-timers and freelancers sought by businesses in Singapore, has led to rapid rise in the gig economy, thus raising concerns among Government for protection of these freelance workers.

Warning Singapore to not underscore the importance of its CPF system to protect freelancers, Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) was one among the four MPs calling for more protection for freelancers in the gig economy. He said, “If the CPF system is undermined by the gig economy, there will be knock-on effects on home ownership, healthcare and retirement adequacy,” Straits Times reports.

Expressing his views at the Parliament Dr Tan said, “The gig employers should pool their resources to give otherwise unprotected freelancers’ insurance coverage, such as those in full-time jobs enjoy.”

He further urged the Government to enhance protection measures for this group, wherein the gig economy had led to shift in risk and responsibilities from an employer to the worker.

See: Singapore’s Rising Gig Economy Presents New Workforce Challenges

Mr Ang Hin Kee (Ang Mo Kio GRC) suggested that, “Government bodies which often work with freelancers should rope in other stakeholders to provide a safety net for such employees.  These could include Singapore Tourism Board-approved tour guides and coaches working with schools and Sport Singapore.”

Perhaps, they could learn by example, from the Land Transport Authority that worked with National Taxi Association and taxi operators in 2014 to set up a mediation centre to handle disputes of freelancers and the self-employed.

“As we gear up for the future economy, our employment practices need to be robust and inclusive… so as to ensure that no one is left behind or short-changed,” added Mr Ang Hin Kee.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) said: “Eventually, this rising number of contract staff should enjoy mandatory employment benefits, such as annual leave and medical benefits.”

“These benefits should be attached to individuals, and not employers,” Mr Ong Teng Koon (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) suggests. “One way to achieve this is – the Government should implement a new benefits system for freelancers.”

Also read: Top 5 Considerations for Businesses Hiring Freelancers in the Gig Economy

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