Press Statement No. 10-2024_SUHAKAM Supports the Establishment of Gig Workers Commission

KUALA LUMPUR (5 JULY 2024) – The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) welcomes the recent announcement on the establishment of the Gig Workers Commission. This initiative is a significant step forward in addressing the challenges faced by gig economy workers and ensuring their rights and welfare are protected.

SUHAKAM was made to understand that the establishment of this Commission would take into consideration of six matters including relevant legislation, a grievance mechanism, the structure and functions of the Commission, social protection, occupational safety and health, and integrated database for the registration of gig workers and platform providers. SUHAKAM hopes that this Commission will as act as a safeguard to protect the welfare of the workers and thus, enacting the right laws that comprehensively address industry challenges is crucial. This will also allow the formation of policies in dealing with matters related to social security of gig workers. In view of the above, SUHAKAM calls for the Commission to be provided with enforcement power for the protection of the gig workers.

Since 2021, SUHAKAM has been actively engaged in consultations with various stakeholders, including gig workers, particularly the e-hailing and p-hailing workers, companies and government agencies, to understand the pressing issues within the gig economy. These discussions have observed the following key concerns:

  1. Lack of clear definitions and classifications for gig workers
  2. Ambiguous legal status of gig workers leading to exploitation and lack of protection
  3. Insufficient social protection measures, including healthcare and retirement benefits, SOCSO and insurance coverage
  4. Absence of robust complaint mechanisms for gig workers to address grievances
  5. Lack of collective agreement terms of employment, hindering the ability of gig workers to exercise work related rights, such as stability of employment, paid holiday and sick leave, maternity leave, annual leave, medical benefits, minimum wage, and the right to organise a union and collectively bargain
  6. Income instability due to the nature of gig work
  7. Lack of adequate floor and fair pay standards
  8. Work-related stress and mental health issues, due to inconsistent demand, job security, long working hours, pressure to arrive on time, and the risk of work-related harm while driving.

SUHAKAM notes that policy development for the Gig Workers Commission is currently underway. In this regard, we acknowledge the collaborative efforts between Ministry of Human Resources (KESUMA) and University Malaya, who are conducting vital research to identify key areas that need to be addressed by the proposed Commission. SUHAKAM strongly supports this initiative and offers our expertise and resources to be part of the working group. Our participation will ensure that the human rights perspective is integrated into the development of policies and regulations for the gig economy, thereby promoting fair and equitable treatment for all gig workers.

In support of this progressive proposal, SUHAKAM stands ready to coordinate the consultation process for the establishment of the Commission as well as the formulation of relevant legislation and policies to ensure the gig workers’ rights and consumers’ interests are well balanced and protected. SUHAKAM strongly encourages continued inclusive dialogue and collaboration between the Government, industry stakeholders, gig workers’ associations, and civil society organizations to address the evolving needs of gig workers while upholding consumer rights and ensuring food safety. This inclusivity will ensure the diverse perspectives are considered, leading to more effective and comprehensive polices. Together, we can establish a fair, inclusive, and secure system that safeguards the rights, welfare, and interests of all players in the gig economy.

-TAMAT-

Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

5 July 2024

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