Call for comment as government seeks to better protect delivery workers, private drivers and taxi drivers, Singapore News & Top Stories

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SINGAPORE – Authorities seek comment on how to better protect point-to-point (P2P) drivers and delivery workers who currently do not have the same bargaining power, financial benefits and medical insurance as other full-time employees.

An online form has been posted on the government feedback agency Reach’s website, which will be available until December 15. It is in conjunction with other actions taken by the Platform Workers Advisory Committee, which is leading the exercise, to consult with other stakeholders, including workers and businesses. .

Delivery men, private drivers, and taxi drivers who work with platform companies to provide delivery and transportation services are considered self-employed and do not receive benefits from the companies they work for.

They represent around 3% of Singapore’s resident workforce, or 79,000 people.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, senior state minister for health and manpower and adviser to the advisory committee, said on Monday (November 15) that these workers lack basic employment protections like the ‘compensation for industrial accidents, union representation and employer contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF). .

“(They) earn lower wages compared to other employees … The advisory committee, made up of representatives from government, labor movement, industry and academia, aims to find a way forward that balances the interests of all stakeholders, ”he said.

In 2019, the median net income of people whose main source of income is working on a platform was in the lowest 20 percent of the labor force here.

But the committee also noted that the platform workers are a diverse group.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the incomes of drivers were strongly impacted, while food delivery transactions reached record levels. Each worker’s level of dependence on their platform gigs is also different – some have full-time jobs, while others have contracts with multiple platforms.

One of the challenges of the committee is to take these differences into account, while ensuring that any new regulations aimed at providing assistance are not too complicated for workers to apply or understand, he said. declared.

He’s also worried that the changes could have unintended consequences for the attractiveness of platform work, with many who choose it valuing the autonomy it gives them in deciding when to work and how to save.

The committee is seeking feedback from stakeholders in three main areas.

First, he wants to help platform workers save better for their housing and retirement needs.

Typically, employers pay up to 17 percent of employee earnings to their CPF under Singapore’s Mandatory Savings Scheme.

However, platform companies do not need to make CPF contributions on their behalf. Workers who already earn low wages are also likely to find it difficult to save for housing and retirement, meaning many will struggle in the long run, the committee said.

Already, only 29% of taxi drivers who turned 55 last year have reached the basic CPF retirement capital, giving them enough monthly payments for life to cover their basic living expenses from 65 years.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the income of drivers was strongly impacted. PHOTO: ST FILE

The committee will assess to what extent pension and housing support measures for platform workers should be aligned with the overall workforce and other possible measures that could help.

Keeping in mind that this will likely lead to increased costs for businesses, he also wants to decide what a fair distribution of the additional costs will look like among businesses, businesses and users.

Second, it wants to better insure platform workers, who spend a disproportionate amount of time on the roads, against accidents at work.

Insurance policies are currently uneven across different platforms, depending on what each business is implementing. Workers on the platform are also not covered by the workers compensation law.

However, given that concert workers can work with multiple platforms, “it is not immediately clear which platform is responsible for compensating and how compensation should be determined,” the committee said.

“As the nature of the work on the platform is interspersed with breaks, it may not be clear if an injury is work-related.”

Finally, the committee plans to allow platform workers to organize to ensure they have more say in their share of costs, training support and medical benefits, as well as how disputes are resolved.

Currently, the National Taxi Association, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association, and the National Delivery Champions Association can defend their members but do not have the legal right to negotiate contractual terms for them.

The committee is looking to complete its work by the second half of next year.


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