At present, many freelancers do not enjoy benefits such as insurance, training support or even CPF contributions.
In fact, they have to bear these costs themselves.
Furthermore, among freelancers, food delivery riders also bear the risk of injuries and illnesses in their line of work.
As a result, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has formed two new groups to represent freelance and self-employed (FSE) individuals.
One will be for delivery riders and the other for creative content professionals.
FSE delivery riders will be represented by the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA), while FSE creatives will be represented by the Visual, Audio, Creative Content Professionals Association (Singapore) (VICPA).
If you are a creative freelancer or food delivery rider, here’s what you can expect from this new initiative.
Freelancers Are One Of The Worst-Hit Groups During Covid-19
Many freelancers have lost their gigs as companies started reeling in their expenses following the outbreak.
As a result, the government launched the Covid-19 Support Grant earlier in the year to provide financial aid for freelancers and home-grown businesses.
The coronavirus crisis has shone a spotlight on many of the long-term struggles faced by gig workers.
While the gig economy offers flexibility, workers have limited access to unemployment benefits, health insurance or sick leave.
Additionally, following the ban on personal mobility devices, many food delivery riders have seen their income streams disrupted.
The government stepped in and launched a $7 million grant to help food delivery riders replace their electric scooters.
Moreover, at present, many delivery riders bear the risk of injuries and illnesses themselves.
Like creative freelancers, they do not have access to benefits such as health insurance or sick leave.
If they fall sick or have to take leave from work, they are not compensated and will lose their income for the day.
What Freelancers Can Expect
On the issue of safety, NDCA will work towards providing members access to insurance coverage in an event of loss of income.
NDCA members will also enjoy the full suite of NTUC benefits, such as insurance coverage against death and total and permanent disability, training assistance and cash support like the NTUC Care Fund (Covid-19).
The association will further work with government partners to ensure that members receive support and guidance for the upcoming mandatory online theory test for power-assisted bicycles and e-scooters.
Meanwhile, VICPA will focus on issues such as the lack of industry benchmarks to measure the value of service.
The group plans to develop a professional code of ethics to guide trade practices and shape how buyers value the service of VICPA members.
A Much-Needed Initiative For Freelancers
With the self-employed being one of the hardest-hit groups in Singapore, this new initiative comes in useful.
It is known that the self-employed individuals have limited access, or are not entitled, to unemployment benefits, health insurance or sick leave.
As they are not official employees of companies, they are mostly not protected by companies.
Some of them may not have bought insurance to protect themselves.
As a result, this NTUC initiative can help ensure these individuals are well covered and supported in the event of an income loss.
NTUC has been supporting FSEs through measures such as its short-term relief fund since the start of the year, from the NTUC Training Fund for the self-employed to the administration of the Self-Employed Persons Income Relief Scheme.
Featured Image Credit: Nikkei Asia / Malay Mail