One-stop body for gig workers needed
employment insurance

Gig workers are not covered by company insurance nor do they have financial backups in the likes of the EPF or Socso

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by TMR FILE

A CORPORATE social initiative is needed to be the central body that could address all issues that are faced by gig workers in various sectors.

Malaysian Employers Federation ED Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan (picture) said the body could act as a mediator between the workers, the employers and the government to ensure a win-win situation for all.

“Workers under the gig economy need to be given some easy access to their rights, such as an organisation that could help them file their claims and grouses should they be exploited.

“There is no point to having a dispute as both sides will not get any benefit from it, so hopefully the outcome is a win-win for all,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.

As it is, self-employed contractors do not have a legal right to form labour unions and negotiate contracts.

Gig workers are not covered by company insurance nor do they have financial backups in the likes of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or Social Security Organisation (Socso).

Shamsuddin added that with recent intervention from various ministries, the workers’ plight has been noticed and there are now special officers to address their concerns.

Shamsuddin said as gig economy continues to expand, workers within the domain are still struggling with financial hardships.

He said while some workers do not make a living fully from gig work and are only looking for extra money, some people depend on it for their main source of income.

He added that the “full time gig workers” are the most likely to face financial distress as they do not receive employment benefits and labour protections.

At the moment, Shamsuddin said that employers also treat gig workers as independent contractors or part time labour on temporary contracts.

“They are not considered as employees so they are not being protected,” he said.

The situation faced by the gig workers in Malaysia resembles the case with US Uber drivers as they are not paid certain taxes, benefits, overtime, or minimum wages by the company.

Recently, hundreds of Foodpanda riders organised a solidarity protest against a new payment scheme by the food delivery company.

According to Foodpanda Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s new schedule, riders are expected to complete a 14-hour workday without proper wages and the work schedule is only sufficient for several riders at a time, with the remaining unable to do their jobs.

Foodpanda riders claimed that they are facing unpredictable working conditions daily and are obliged to not cancel too many deliveries as they will be penalised with a suspension or a ban.