Labour law needs fine-tuning for gig economy workers, says deputy minister

File photo showing GrabFood riders waiting to pick up their order at Ampang. Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said raising the issue and getting feedback from industry players and those in power will be a challenge due to the evolving nature of the sector.— Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
File photo showing GrabFood riders waiting to pick up their order at Ampang. Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said raising the issue and getting feedback from industry players and those in power will be a challenge due to the evolving nature of the sector.— Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13  — There is a need for a strong and official bill that will uphold the rights and livelihood of gig economy workers.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said this issue will be given attention due to several reasons which include the lack of provision for it under the labour law as well as to follow worldwide standards.

“Oftentimes the issue is of gig economic workers being confused between being a contractor or a worker.

“We will need to refine this in terms of the law so that those who are in this sector are not exploited by gig economy sponsor companies,” Ahmad Fayshal said on Bernama’s talk show Ruang Bicara last night, adding that he will approach fellow parliamentarians on the matter.

He was of the opinion that raising the issue and getting feedback from industry players and those in power will be a challenge due to the evolving nature of the sector.

On the issue of the government not having a complete database on affected youths and vulnerable groups in order to effectively channel targeted assistance in the sector, Ahmad Fayshal said that this must be tackled in collaboration with private companies.

“True, this is a dilemma or an issue that the government must overcome with private companies which have the upper hand in this gig economy sector,” he said.

According to him, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz recently had also expressed concern that despite the government allocation to help gig economy riders through PenjanaGig, the gig economy platforms under the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana), only seven per cent (21,000) of e-hailing riders and drivers from the sector of 400,000 people had registered for it.

“This means there is room for improvement in terms of data management involving gig economic workers...if we had a wider reach, we would be able to improve regulations pertaining to the sector,” he said.

For the record, PenjanaGig is a government assistance initiative announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on June 5, 2020, through Penjana to ensure the social security and welfare of self-employed persons in the gig economy.

The assistance is in the form of a portion of the Self-Employed Social Security Scheme, under the Social Security Organisation.

Contributions will be paid through a government contribution of 70 per cent, while the remaining 30 per cent will be contributed by the platform service providers or the employees themselves through their service provider platform. The amount contributed by the government ranges from RM163.00 to RM232.80. — Bernama

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