(i) Getting paid late or not getting paid at all/fully
Some SEPs surveyed said that they were concerned with late or non-payment for work done. During the tripartite workgroup’s engagements, SEPs in the media, design and arts sectors shared that disputes over payment often arose because the agreed terms were not recorded, or contract terms did not have clear written requirements and payment terms.
(ii) Ineligibility for employment benefits
Some SEPs surveyed said that ineligibility for employment benefits was a concern. During the tripartite workgroup’s engagements, many SEPs recognised that it would be difficult for them to have the same employment benefits that employees have (e.g. annual leave) as they generally worked on a project basis, with greater control over their work hours. However, self-employed dancers and sports coaches felt that protection in the event of injuries at work was important, as a serious injury could put them out of work for some time.
(iii) Uncertainty of finding sufficient work – fluctuating income and its impact on long-term financial planning
Some SEPs surveyed said that uncertainty of finding sufficient work was a concern. SEPs said this in turn affected their ability to save and make long-term financial plans. During the tripartite workgroup’s engagements, SEPs, including older SEPs, said that they needed to save regularly for retirement and healthcare, but had difficulties due to income fluctuations.
7. We would like to seek feedback on the above concerns and other concerns that SEPs face, and the factors contributing to them. You may wish to use these questions as a starting point:
- What are the main causes of late payment or non-payment for SEPs’ services?
- Is loss of income while injured a concern for SEPs? What other employment benefits are SEPs concerned about not being eligible for?
- What are SEPs’ key concerns when it comes to preparing for retirement? What about when it comes to meeting healthcare needs?
- What other concerns do SEPs face?
a. Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if applicable), so that we know if you are contributing in your personal capacity or as a representative of your organisation/association;
b. Make your comments clear and concise;
c. Identify the specific areas that you are commenting on, and provide your comment on how the concerns could be addressed; and
d. As far as possible, explain your points with illustrations and examples.
10. Please submit your feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Consultation on SEPs’ Top Concerns for the Future Economy”.
1 At COS 2017, Minister for Manpower announced the formation of a tripartite workgroup to study issues related to SEPs. This tripartite workgroup comprises members from the Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation.
2 Self-employed persons (SEPs) operate their own trade or business, and include taxi drivers, graphic designers, sport coaches and tourist guides.
3 SEPs who do not employ any paid worker and are not contributing family members are also known as “own account workers”, which is a more formal term used in the LFSS report.