Gahmen is going to implement CPF contributions for the Platform Workers!
But ah but, before you jump at this news, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) also came out to say that there also must be some form of support provided for this group of platform workers through the transition period where CPF contributions are enforced, to mitigate the impact on their take-home pay.
In a Facebook post on 24 Nov, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng noted that with the CPF contribution announcement, there will be potential challenges for some platform workers. He added that NTUC and the associations will work with the Government for potential transition measures to support the platform workers.
“NTUC wants to ensure fair wages for the platform workers like we do for unionised workers – that their wages commensurate with their roles, and any measures put in place should not greatly impact their take-home pay. This is the way to ensure a sustainable way to promote better earnings, better welfare and better work prospects for my sisters and brothers in this industry,” he continued.
12 recommendations for the protection of Platform Workers, including CPF contributions
This comes after the Gahmen accepts all 12 recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, which was set up by the Ministry of Manpower in September 2021 to look into how cabbies, private-hire car drivers and freelance delivery workers can be better protected.
In other words hor, all your Grab drivers, Gojek drivers, Grab food delivery riders, Food Panda delivery riders, hambalang ALL OF THEM will need to contribute a portion of their earnings to CPF like the regular workers in Singapore liao.
This is so that this group of workers will at least have some money parked aside for their housing and retirement needs, especially if they are young.
Simi recommendations did the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers give to the Gahmen?
On top of the CPF contributions hor, the other recommendations include:
- Platform Workers should not be classified as employees.
- Require Platform Companies that exert a significant level of management control over Platform Workers to provide them with certain basic protections.
- Require Platform Companies to provide the same scope and level of work injury compensation as employees’ entitlement under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA).
- Require Platform Company that the Platform Worker was working for at the point of injury to be responsible for compensation, based on the Platform Worker’s total earnings from the platform sector in which the injury was sustained.
- Determine sector-specific definitions of when a Platform Worker is considered “at work”.
- Retain the strengths of the current WICA regime, including the provision of work injury compensation insurance through the existing open and competitive insurance market.
- Align CPF contribution rates of Platform Companies and Platform Workers with that of employers and employees respectively, for Platform Workers who are aged below 30 in the first year of implementation.
- Allow older cohorts of Platform Workers who are aged 30 and above in the first year of implementation to opt in to the full CPF contribution regime.
- Require Platform Companies to collect Platform Workers’ CPF contributions to help workers make timely contributions.
- Phase in the increased CPF contributions over five years, unless major economic disruption warrants a longer timeline.
- Give Platform Workers the right to seek formal representation through a new representation framework designed for Platform Workers.
- Set up a Tripartite Workgroup on Representation for Platform Workers (TWG) to co-create the new representation framework.
NTUC ask Gahmen to give support to the platform workers when the CPF contributions become mandatory
Unless you have been living in your own world, if not you probably should know that NTUC has been working to ensure platform workers receive better protection.
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng and Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling even did a LIVE with Mothership sometime back in August 2021, 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.
Should more protection be given to Self-Employed Person and freelancers like our delivery riders?
So ah, in response to this announcement, NTUC say that while it supports the recommendations laid out by the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, which are a step in the right direction in enhancing the protection of the platform workers, NTUC also called on the Gahmen to provide sufficient support to platform workers when they contribute to their CPF.
Although having CPF contributions can help the platform workers build up their long-term retirement and housing adequacy, but if ask them to ji tao do it immediately surely will impact their take-home pay one mah.
So NTUC is asking the Gahmen to do it in a phased approach when the recommendations are implemented.
In their statement, NTUC also affirmed that their associations – the National Taxi Association (NTA), National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) and National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA) – which have been representing the interests of platform workers, will continue to commit themselves to be the voice of platform workers in the areas of fair structures, fair terms and fair processes to ensure that they are treated fairly.
One of the recommendations, which called for the platform workers to be given a fundamental right to representation means that moving forward, this group of workers will have a platform for stakeholders to agree on workers representation and to set in place an enhanced framework that will close the imbalance between platforms and platform workers.
NTUC added that they look forward to the outcome of discussions within the Tripartite Workgroup (TWG) on Representation of Platform Workers and at the same time, they will remain focused on ensuring that the platform workers are not adversely affected by the implementation of the recommendations, which must not be at the expense of fair earnings to platform workers.
Labour MP Ms Yeo Wan Ling jie jie, who is also an advisor to the NTA, NPHVA and NDCA, said in her Facebook post that the associations, will monitor the upcoming implementation of recommendations and continue to engage the platform workers to ensure that their concerns and queries are addressed.
Recommendations will be implemented progressively
So IF you are currently working as a platform worker, don’t be too worried yet lah. Because the recommendations won’t be implemented immediately.
The Gahmen say they will continue to work with Platform Workers and Platform Companies to implement the recommendations in a progressive manner from the later part of 2024 at the earliest.
Even if all these were to be legislated also need time mah. And Gahmen also say that they will exercise flexibility and adjust the implementation timeline if needed, depending on the economic situation.
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