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Can Singapore forge a unique way to address issues facing gig workers?

By bringing various stakeholders together for an open dialogue, there is an opportunity to come up with solutions that are tailored to the republic's situation.

Published Fri, Mar 26, 2021 · 05:50 AM

A DECADE ago, the term "freelancer" would bring to mind examples such as real estate agents and private tutors. Today, it conjures images of ride-hailing drivers or delivery workers since platform and e-commerce applications have become so prevalent. These drivers and delivery workers are commonly known as gig workers. Alongside the technological progress that has boosted availability and use of these services, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased our reliance on them. Even more traditional companies such as AirAsia are pivoting their business to capitalise on this growing trend.

The ad hoc work that such applications offer appeals to people who want to earn income with flexibility. People whose jobs have been adversely affected by the pandemic have grasped these opportunities to tide them over. Gig workers are facing unique challenges during the pandemic as their income is directly commensurate with the number of assignments they pick up. Ride-hailing drivers saw a plunge in passenger numbers as social distancing restrictions were imposed. Food delivery riders experienced greater competition as the number of riders increased. Recognising these challenges, the Singapore government …

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