Govt should consider imposing minimum wage for gig workers

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE

THE government should review whether to impose the minimum wage for gig economy workers as they are not applicable for such as stated by the law.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Awang Hashim said in the United Kingdom (UK), gig economy workers have been given minimum wage protection following dissatisfaction with fluctuating delivery wage rates. 

“While in Malaysia, gig economy workers are not defined as employees under the Employment Act 1995 (Act 265), the Labour Ordinance (Sabah Chapter 67) and the Labour Ordinance (Sarawak Chapter 76),” he told the Dewan Rakyat today. 

He was responding to questions from Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Pulai MP Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, who asked whether the government intends to impose a minimum wage in the gig economy industry business platform, as what the UK has done. 

Awang said under the National Salary Consultative Council Act 2011 (Act 732), the Minimum Wage Order (PGM) 2020 applies to all employees in the private sector except domestic servants as defined under Act 265, Sabah Chapter 67 and Sarawak Chapter 76.

In general, the definition of employee under Act 265 is an individual who is bound by a contract of service with the employer. Hence, the PGM is only applicable if the employee is under a contract of service.

“The agreed gig employment system and contract for service make gig economy workers not subject to Act 732 and PGM,” he said.

In an additional question, Dr Dzulkefly asked if the government is considering social protection for gig workers, namely social security (Socso), Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) or at least a social insurance fund. 

Awang replied that protection has been carried out by the Human Resources Ministry through Socso, but not for EPF as it is outside of the ministry’s scope.

The government through the Self-Employment Social Security Act 2017 (Act 789) provides social security protection to self-employed people including gig economy workers such as food delivery and e-hailing services, if they contribute under the Act.

To date, there is no record or filing of labour cases related to gig workers that can be used as a test case or benchmarking that allows gig economy workers to enjoy the same benefits as workers under the definition of labour law in Malaysia.

“The government is always open to every view and suggestion given. The ministry is ready to study any proposal that can benefit the people and the country’s economy as a whole,” Awang said.