Lawmaker calls for probe on condition of gig economy workers

A SENATOR on Wednesday filed a resolution calling for an investigation on the working conditions in the “gig-economy,” which covers delivery riders and other freelancers.

Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel filed Senate Resolution No. 732 to address “reports of unfair working conditions,” especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and look into their employment benefits and other forms of social protection.

Gig economy under the resolution is defined as “new technology-enabled forms of work, often temporary and flexible, utilized by companies that rely primarily on independent contractors and freelancers.”

Among the issues the investigation aims to address is the practice of classifying gig economy workers as “independent contractors, and not employees,” which does not automatically qualify them to healthcare benefits, days off, and 13th month and retirement pay, among others, under the labor law.

“Without laws that regulate and define the rights of our gig economy workers, they will certainly be exposed to abuse and exploitation,” Ms. Baraquel said in a statement.

The senator cited a report by Payoneer in 2019 where the country ranked 6th in the world as the fastest-growing market for the gig-economy.

Ms. Baraquel also urged policy makers to create a permanent social safety net for all workers and “break out of the contractor-employee binary.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas