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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Freelance Workers

Notice Paper No. 169 of 2015 For The Sitting On 13 July 2015
Question No. 635 For Written Answer

MP: Ms Tin Pei Ling

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the current estimated number of freelance workers in Singapore; (b) whether there is an increasing trend of such workers here; and (c) if the Ministry will consider including freelance workers in the Employment Act or other relevant Acts for greater clarity of the recourse available to them should they be denied payment by hirers for services rendered.


  1. As of June 2014, there were 183,900 freelance workers1, forming 8.7% of employed residents compared to 9.4% ten years ago in 2004.
  2. Freelance workers are persons who operate their own business or trade. This means that they are their own employers. They decide which service contracts to enter into. There is no employer-employee relationship between them and their clients. For this reason, they are not covered by the Employment Act (EA).
  3. Freelance workers who are not paid by their clients can seek legal redress by commencing proceedings against their clients at the State Courts, which includes the Small Claims Tribunal, depending on the nature of the claim or disputed amount.

1 They are also known as own account workers. These are persons who operate their own business without employing any paid workers in the conduct of their business or trade.