NTUC to push for law amendment to better represent freelancers, Jobs News & Top Stories
The National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) will push for a change in laws to better represent freelancers, Secretary General Ng Chee Meng said yesterday.
The labor chief told reporters that it was one of the NTUC’s priorities for this year as Singapore works towards a recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
“This is a growing area of concern for NTUC as we are finding that after the aftermath of Covid-19, many of our freelancers are really very vulnerable,” he said.
Last December, NTUC formed two groups to represent deliverers and professionals for creative content. They are the National Delivery Champions Association and the Visual, Audio, Creative Content Professionals Association (Singapore).
However, the existing labor laws under the Works Constitution Act – which regulates the trade union functions in the employee-employer relationship – and the Trade Union Act do not apply to freelancers, as they are not considered employees.
Changes to the law would allow the labor movement to better represent this roughly 200,000 group of workers – “a sizeable part of Singapore,” said Ng.
NTUC Deputy Secretary General Patrick Tay plans to bring this up in Parliament during the debate on the Ministry of Labor’s budget.
In addition, NTUC has contacted several foreign self-employed and freelance unions to investigate their models, a statement said.
“We want to innovate in order to represent them better and to improve the handling of complaints,” it said.
Other workers that NTUC will focus on this year are professional and managerial staff (PMEs) between the ages of 40 and 60, said Mr Ng.
A task force jointly led by NTUC will make recommendations on government policy, business best practices and training in the third quarter of this year.
The PME Task Force is led by Mr. Tay and the Executive Director of the Singapore National Employers Federation, Sim Gim Guan.
Older workers will remain on the NTUC’s radar, said Ng.
“We will work with the government and employers to further review the tripartite recommendations … to raise the retirement age, re-employment age and also CPF recovery,” he added.
The NTUC will also explore how it can better support women in the workplace through flexible work arrangements (FWA).
“This is going to be quite a challenge, of course … but, ironically, Covid-19 opened up opportunities for FWA … as we get used to working from home and putting in different structures and processes to encourage productivity,” said he