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08 Apr 2022  (486 Views) 

Protection for gig workers
Many Singaporeans are working in the gig economy, i.e. driving or delivering food. 

They asked for protection, i.e. CPF contribution and employment benefit. 

How can the gig workers be given adequate income and benefits?

I give my views.

1.  We have to ensure that these workers can enjoy an adequate income. They should not be forced by market conditions to accept low rates that require long hours of work to earn an adequate income. 

2. One possible step is through licensing of these workers. The number of licenses issued will respond to the demand. If there is higher demand for the services, more licenses can be issued. If there is adequate supply, there is no need to issue more licenses.

3. If is possible to look at the income of the license holders to determine the need to issue more licenses. This is dynamic and flexible. We have adopted this approach for giving out taxi licenses in the past. It can be used for new services in the gig economy.

4. Licensing can also be used to ensure a minimum standard of competency and customer service.

5. It is also useful for the authority to set aside recommended rates for the services. This is to ensure that market is orderly, and there is no excessive competition that may be disruptive.

6. The gig workers can be required to contribute to CPF at a certain percentage of the income. If these workers earn an adequate income, they should be happy to set aside this contribution for the future.

7. The gig workers can purchase their personal health insurance or can buy the health insurance arranged by the platforms. 

The most important strategy is to implement licensing, so that the gig workers can enjoy an adequate income. After that, they can save a part of their income for their future needs and for health insurance. 

Tan Kin Lian

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