The Philippines approves freelance workers protection bill

House Bill 615, also known as the Freelance Workers Protection Act, was unanimously adopted by the House labour and employment committee.
By: | September 21, 2022

Authored by Pangasinan Rep. Christopher De Venecia, the bill aims to promote the safety and well-being of freelance workers, specifically by mandating the provision of mandatory hazard pay and night shift differential pay.

It will also empower freelance workers to demand payment for services rendered through several legal channels, impose civil penalties for unscrupulous hiring parties, and criminalise non-payment of compensation. 

The bill defines a freelance worker as any individual “hired or retained to provide services in exchange for compensation”, regardless of whether that individual is 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.

“I believe it’s high time that we pass a measure that will now protect the critical mass of the creative industry, which is really the freelancers,” De Venecia said. 

Under the measure, any hiring party obtaining or retaining the services of a freelance worker shall execute a written contract with the freelance worker before said services are rendered. 

READ: Bill to protect freelancers in the Philippines fast tracked for approval

The bill likewise provides a civil penalty of PHP50,000 (US$871) to PHP500,000 (US$8,708) for unlawful practices under the proposed law, which include paying the compensation due to the freelance worker later than 15 days after the date of payment of compensation stated in the written contract; or requiring as a condition of payment of compensation that a freelance worker accepts less than the specified contract price, according to PNA.