Singapore may look to change laws to protect gig workers, says ST

A Grab food delivery worker (centre) cycles across a bridge at a residential housing estate in Singapore. — AFP

Singapore may consider legislative changes to protect gig-economy workers such as food delivery riders and taxi drivers, the Straits Times newspaper reported, citing a government committee member.

The Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, which had its first meeting Wednesday, aims to have a set of recommendations by around the second half of next year, which could also involve guidelines for unions, workers and employers, the newspaper reported, citing Koh Poh Koon, senior minister of state for health and manpower.

Gig-economy workers from Silicon Valley to China and India have gained political attention as they push for the same rights and protections granted to more traditional employees. There were about 79,000 such workers in Singapore last year, the manpower ministry estimated, for companies including Grab Holdings Inc, Delivery Hero SE’s Foodpanda and Deliveroo Plc.

The committee, announced last month by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is tasked with strengthening protections for gig workers and “ensuring a more balanced relationship between platforms and platform workers”, Koh said earlier this week in Parliament.

The priority areas for the committee include retirement and housing adequacy, ensuring adequate financial protection in case of work injury and improving workers’ bargaining power, the Straits Times reported. – Bloomberg

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