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Law providing benefits for freelance workers sought

A bill providing safeguards for freelancer workers has been filed in the House of Representatives.

Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte made the proposal under his House Bill 3738, saying that the number of freelance workers could dramatically increase as the country transitions to a digital economy.

The bill mandates written contracts in obtaining the services of freelancers, on top of night differential and hazard pay when applicable.

“Freelancers mostly belong to what we now call the gig economy and have risen in numbers especially during the pandemic. Despite contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth, they remain vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” Duterte said.

Duterte said the Philippines ranks sixth among countries with the fastest-growing market for freelancers based on 2019 Global Gig Economy Index of the financial services provider Payoneer.

The measure defines a freelance worker as a person, whether incorporated under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), registered as a sole proprietor under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), or registered as self-employed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), who is hired or retained to provide services, in exchange for compensation, as an independent contractor to do work according to one’s own methods and without being subjected to the control of the hiring party, except only as to the results of the work.

Written contracts made mandatory under the bill in hiring freelancers should also include the itemization of all services to be provided;details of compensation and other benefits, including rate, method and schedule of payment; period of employment; grounds for breach of contract on the part of both the hiring party and the freelancer; and Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the freelancer.

The bill also states that “no modification of the terms of the contract shall be enforceable unless signed by both the hiring party and the freelance worker.”—LDF, GMA News