SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has expressed his support for freelance workers and co-sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 1810, a measure ensuring such workers are given fair treatment at par with regular employees.
SB 1810, or the proposed “Freelancers Protection Act,” filed by Senators Emmanuel Joel Villanueva and Ramon Revilla Jr., seeks to institutionalize the protection granted to freelance workers in the country.
In his manifestation during the hybrid Senate session on Wednesday, Go said “freelancing is a viable way of earning a living, especially in a time of crisis like this.”
“It is about time that the law recognizes the importance of the industry and the necessity of ensuring that our freelancers will not be abused,” Go added.
Even outside a time of crisis, Go said freelancing has been emerging as an alternative to the traditional employer-employee work model, and more have turned to freelancing due to the pandemic after losing their jobs with the closure of some companies.
“A lot of our workforce prefer to do their work on their own terms, and just as the law was written to protect the employees back then, the law must now recognize this emerging way of earning a living,” Go said, adding that livelihood need not be tied to the old system.
Due to the absence of formal written contracts between freelancers and their clients, the former is vulnerable to abuse and they have extraordinarily little recourse through legal means.
Under the proposed bill, a written contract will be required “reflecting the mutual consent of the parties to be bound by the terms and conditions of their freelance work engagement and the consideration for the services rendered by the freelancer,” as Villanueva said in an interview.
The proposed bill also guarantees the rights of freelance workers, including their rights to affordable and sufficient financial services, education and skills training as well as social protection and social welfare benefits.
To further protect them, a registry of an association of freelancers will also be established.
The registry will also assist the government in collecting accurate data and statistics that will allow it to extend assistance to them.
Furthermore, the bill will mandate the Department of Labor and Employment to “conduct seminars on the legal resources available to freelancers, and as far as practicable, encourage the parties to a freelancing agreement to avail of alternative dispute mechanisms.”