Should more protection be given to Self-Employed Person and freelancers like our delivery riders?

Should more protection be given to Self-Employed Person and freelancers like our delivery riders?

As of now, all of the food delivery drivers you see out there – for example your Deliveroo, FoodPanda, and GrabFood delivery riders lah – are all considered Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) or freelancers.

These delivery riders, although they got a lot of flexibility because no need to work 9-5 jobs, they actually don’t have a lot of protection and benefits unlike regular employees.

They don’t have things like medical benefits and insurance coverage, and they also won’t receive employer CPF contributions – unless they ownself contribute to CPF voluntarily. In other words, a lot of things they have to KKBZ one (KKBZ = kaki bozhong, ownself take care of ownself)

NTUC seeking medical benefits, fairer T&Cs for delivery riders

So hor, as a labour movement that commits itself to protect every worker in Singapore, the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) said that it is currently working on proposals to see how the union can ensure adequate protection for delivery riders by working with the government, as well as partnering delivery companies.

Not too long ago, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng and Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling did a LIVE with Mothership, where they hit the streets to talk to the delivery workers on the ground to find out their woes, and how they think the union can help them.

You can watch the video below if you have 50 minutes to spare:

Unsurprisingly, most of the riders shared that their utmost concerns are the lack of medical benefits and insurance coverage.

Self-employed but not really self-employed

While these delivery riders are categorized as SEPs (or freelancers), Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling also pointed out that actually these delivery riders are more like employees than “self-employed persons” because hor self-employed persons usually “are their own bosses”, and these delivery riders cannot bargain their own prices or set the terms for their services, they have to accept whatever the rates these delivery platform set for them.

She also added that the delivery platforms do not take care of the welfare of delivery riders fully as they are deemed as self-employed.

So hor MP Yeo Wan Ling said it is important for the union to look after this group of workers and make sure that they are taken care of, protected and represented.

Unpopular opinions

While the union is cracking their brains, thinking of ways to take care of this group of delivery riders, there are also some sentiments among Singaporeans that this group of gig economy workers “should’ve known what they were getting into”.

Like this person here:

Some also said that instead of “complaining” about the lack of all the wu eh bo eh (this and that), these delivery riders could have chosen another career. You want flexibility, want to ownself manage ownself, then don’t come and complain nobody takes care of you, don’t have this and don’t have that. After all, one cannot have his cake and eat it too mah.

So, what do you think leh?

Do you think the SEPs and freelancers like delivery riders should ownself KKBZ and ownself take care of themselves? Or do you think it is right that NTUC wants to step up and take care of this group of workers leh?


If you’d like to contribute your story to us, drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll review it. We read each submission that comes to us within two weeks of receiving it.

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