Gig employees in Malaysia to enjoy same rights as formal employees

Malaysia has established a Gig Workers Commission to protect and safeguard the welfare of gig employees in the country.
By: | March 5, 2024

The establishment of the Gig Workers Commission, approved by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, will pave the way for employees in the gig economy to receive the same protection and benefits as formal employees as defined in the country’s labour laws.

With the existence of the commission, employees in the gig economy would be able to contribute to the Social Security Organisation (Sosco) and receive social protection, said Dr Jaid Yassin, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Management and Business, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sabah.

Speaking with Bernama, Dr Jaid said, “Furthermore, it will address the issues faced by gig industry practitioners and workers, especially regarding a fair payment system so that eventually, perhaps, minimum wage protection can be introduced to them.”

The lack of bodies or groups that have advocated for the rights of gig economy employees, including social protection and fair wages, has caused gig work to be considered a temporary job while demand for services such as Foodpanda and GrabFood continues to grow.

There are currently around 1.2 million gig employees in Malaysia and Daryl Chong, President of the Malaysian E-Hailing Drivers Association (MeHDA), is hopeful that the commission will help to deal with the issue of many e-hailing drivers and food delivery riders who are unreasonably terminated by their respective operating companies.

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“Without a fair trial, some of them are dismissed within 24 hours if the case reported by the customer to the company is deemed serious, while for lighter cases, they may be suspended for a day or two depending on the investigation, but usually, this investigation is one-sided.

“There is no way for them (workers) to defend themselves,” he said, adding that the commission can help assure a fair and proper process that includes holding a domestic inquiry hearing before any person can be terminated, reported New Straits Times.