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Tripartite workgroup releases recommendations on self-employed persons

  1. The Tripartite Workgroup (TWG), formed in 2017 to identify common challenges faced by self-employed persons (SEPs) and develop recommendations to address these challenges, has submitted its report to the Government.
  2. Comprising officials from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the TWG engaged and consulted about 200 SEPs as well as SEP associations and communities, businesses, and Government agencies.
  3. The recommendations for addressing these common challenges can be found in the TWG Report on SEPs.
  4. Mr Augustin Lee, TWG Chairman and MOM Deputy Secretary (李东阳, 劳资政三方工作小组主席, 人力部副常任秘书), said, “About 9 in 10 Singaporean workers prefer regular employment. We must therefore continue to create quality jobs and up-skill Singaporeans to take those jobs. This TWG report is focused on developing recommendations to support the 1 in 10 workers who value the flexibility and autonomy of self-employment. We hope that our recommendations will help make their career in self-employment more sustainable.”
  5. Mr Ang Hin Kee, TWG member and NTUC Assistant Director-General and Director for Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (洪鼎基, 劳资政三方工作小组成员, 职总助理总干事, 职总自由业者与自雇署长), said, “A self-employed person is just like any working person. We could help provide a working environment which is supported by fair and progressive practices. The Labour Movement is glad that the recommendations highlight how all parties in the ecosystem, from platform intermediaries, corporate buyers and government sector agencies can work together to ensure a sustainable future.”
  6. Mr Edwin Lye, TWG member and SNEF Group Director, Industrial Relations and Workplace Partnerships (赖德熙, 劳资政三方工作小组成员, 新加坡全国雇主联合会, 工业关系与职场合作关系组组署长), said, “Companies procure services from SEPs, commonly referred to as freelancers, as they provide flexibility and meet business needs while increasing organisational agility. Therefore, the TWG has taken the balanced approach of not trying to treat SEPs like employees and imposing labour protections which are more suited to regular employment. We believe the recommendations achieve the objectives of promoting innovative business models and providing support for SEPs’ well-being, thereby contributing to a dynamic future economy.”
  7. In her letter to the TWG, Second Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo said the Government accepted in-principle the TWG’s recommendations and would provide further details on its response at the upcoming Committee of Supply parliamentary debates.

Definition of Self-Employed Persons (SEPs)

  • SEPs refer to persons who operate their own trade or business. Those who do not employ any paid worker and are not contributing family members are also known as “own account workers”. “Own account worker” is the more formal term used in MOM’s Labour Force Supplementary Survey on Own Account Workers, and which closely follows the International Labour Organisation’s classification of Status in Employment. SEPs are also known loosely as “freelancers” or “independent contractors”.
  • SEPs work in diverse occupations and include taxi drivers, real estate agents, insurance agents, private hire car drivers and private tutors.
  • SEPs are not casual, temporary, or term-contract employees who are on employment contracts for fixed periods of time.