Sen. Hontiveros calls for Senate probe into the working conditions of freelancers, delivery riders, Grab drivers

<i>Photo: Senator Risa Hontiveros / FB</i>
Photo: Senator Risa Hontiveros / FB

To address the growing number of reports of unfair working conditions among among delivery riders, motorcycle taxi riders, Grab car drivers, and other freelancers  Sen. Risa Hontiveros has filed Proposed Senate Resolution 732, calling for an investigation to aid legislation.

The proposed resolution urges the Senate to look into employment benefits and other forms of social protection for workers in the ‘gig economy’, which has been thrust into the spotlight because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand for part-time and temporary jobs has also come with the “widespread loss or lack of benefits,” a statement from Sen. Hontiveros says. “There are also countless reports of unstable working conditions. Many of them are not considered employees. As lawmakers, we should look into these and craft measures that will better protect our gig economy workers.” The statement was issued in Filipino and in English.

Hontiveros’ resolution cites a 2019 Payoneer study that ranked the Philippines as having the 6th fastest growing gig economy in the world, with a 35% growth in freelance earnings. Despite this, however, workers have also complained about “the lack of stability, low pay, limited opportunity in the sector, and technology replacing many of the routine jobs for workers.”

Because many gig economy workers are classified as independent contractors and not employees, they are not entitled to healthcare benefits, 13th month pay, retirement benefits, and other forms of protection granted by the Labor Code of the Philippines.

“Without laws that regulate and define the rights of our gig economy workers, they will certainly be exposed to abuse and exploitation,” said Hontiveros.”Our employment landscape is evolving and so should our laws be. With the rapidly expanding gig economy, Congress must plan and think more broadly about delinking healthcare, unemployment insurance, and other vital benefits from specific forms of employment. No one should be left out in the new normal everyone must have protection and dignity in the workplace, no matter what their employment status may be.”


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