Bill to protect freelancers in the Philippines fast tracked for approval

Senator Joel Villanueva is pushing for a quick approval of a bill to protect freelancers against abuse and exploitation.
By: | August 27, 2021

The proposed Freelance Protection Act, or Senate Bill No. 1810, aims to define the rights and benefits of workers in the freelance and gig economy. It is currently awaiting second reading approval in the upper chamber. 

Villanueva said the bill will provide a “mantle of protection” for the 1.5 million freelancers and workers in the gig economy. This protection is becoming more crucial as the number of freelancers have increased significantly due to the pandemic. 

The proposed bill defines a freelancer as a “person who renders a task, work or service through his or her freely chosen means and methods, free from any forms of economic dependence, control or supervision by the clients, regardless of whether they are paid by results, piece, task, hour, day, job or by the nature of the service required.” 

The bill also defines the rights of freelance workers: 

  • Just compensation and equal remuneration for work of equal value without manipulation or distinction of any kind.
  • Safe and healthy working conditions.
  • Self-organisation and to collectively negotiate with the government, client and other entities for the promotion of their welfare and in advancement of their rights and interests.
  • Protections against any form of discrimination, violence, sexual harassment, and abuse.
  • Affordable and adequate financial services, as well as social protection and social welfare benefits.

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Villanueva said existing labour laws were written before app-based food delivery and courier riders, home-based creative workers, and work-on-demand professionals became widespread, and thus need to be updated, according to Manila Bulletin.