Press Release
May 28, 2021

De Lima supports Senate resolution seeking probe on condition of delivery riders, freelancers

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed support to a proposed Senate resolution calling for an investigation into the working conditions in the "gig-economy" covering motorcycle taxi riders, delivery service motorists, and other freelancers.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said that the heaviest burden that gig economy workers are facing is the lack of job security and benefits such as but not limited to medical benefits, leave credits, and retirement pay.

"Gig economy workers, particularly delivery riders, have played an important role amid the pandemic as more people relied on them to deliver food, groceries and other necessities, but they continue to face work struggles considering their lack of job security and benefits," she said.

"It now rests on the legislature to act to improve their situation by looking into their working conditions and crafting meaningful measures to protect and uphold their rights. The output should represent the best solution that balances both the interests and welfare of employers and employees," she added.

Senate Resolution (SR) No. 732, filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, seeks to investigate why workers under gig economy are classified as independent contractors and not employees, with such label invalidating them from receiving health benefits, 13th month pay, retirement pay, leave credits, days-off, and other forms of aids found under the Labor Code.

Under SR No. 732, gig economy is defined as "new technology-enabled forms of work, often temporary and flexible, utilized by companies that rely primarily on independent contractors and freelancers."

Adding why she believes that such labor practice needs to be urgently investigated, De Lima said the current gig economy setup would openly allow employers to exploit workers' labor by depriving them of their lawful benefits.

"Hindi biro ang ginagawang trabaho at hirap ng mga delivery riders, na sumasabak sa panganib sa araw-araw nilang paghahatid ng mga essential needs ng ating mga kababayan. Oras na para sila naman ay ating pagtuunan ng pansin at bigyan ng nararapat na serbisyo, benepisyo at proteksyon," she said.

De Lima cited the case of a certain "Peter," a 37-year-old father of two, who reportedly used to be employed as a company driver but decided to be with GrabFood which, he said, pays more even if he is not considered an employee. He admitted, however, that he expressed a longing for the job security that only employees can enjoy.

"Isa lamang si Peter sa libo-libo nating kababayan na lubos man ang pasasalamat sa pagkakaroon ng pagkakakitaan ngayong pandemya, ay inaasam pa rin na magkaroon ng job security at sapat na benepisyo na tinatamasa ng regular na empleyado," said De Lima.

Prior to this, the Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong, or Kagulong, also called for protection and job security of riders to which De Lima expressed her support.

"Kaisa po tayo ng Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong (Kagulong) at ng ating mga riders sa adhikaing siguraduhin at pangalagaan ang kanilang kapakanan, kaligtasan at kinabukasan, hindi lamang sa kanilang trabaho, kundi pati na rin ng kanilang pamilya," De Lima said.

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