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Gig economy ― the future of work ― Nurafifah Mohammad Suhaimi | What You Think

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JANUARY 22 ― As the digital age surfaces, the gig economy has formed its own market at its peak with no plans of slowing down.

Indeed, the World Bank Data underlined that in 2018 itself, 25.3 per cent of the Malaysian labour force are freelancers and it puts Malaysia’s gig economy as growing to as much as 26 per cent of total economic growth.

These growing numbers have caught Tun Dr Mahathir’s attention as he pointed out that the gig economy will be made part of the 12th Malaysia Plan. New laws will also be introduced to protect the giggers (gig workers) financially and physically.

The gig economy is simply where a big group of people are working on their own through freelance or on an ad-hoc basis and they are paid per job, as opposed to receiving a regular salary from an employer.

Generally, it is like working in a free market system by which workers are allowed to work independently without being tethered to long-term contracts with any company.

Although the term “gig economy” is peculiar to some people, there has always been a market for people to work as pay-per-job work. In fact, prior to the industrial revolution and the rise of the employee-employer contract, this type of work is a norm at certain workplaces.

In Malaysia, the most common gig economy jobs are those who do e-hailing and delivery services like Grab, FoodPanda and Gojek.

Why are more people joining the gig economy?

The reason why more people out there, especially fresh graduates, opt with the gig economy is simply because it is strenuous to secure a permanent job nowadays.

As of November 2019, the number of unemployment Malaysians is big, with 513,900 people.

This has caused them to divert to Plan B, by letting slip their dream job and shift to the gig economy, where at least they get paid to cover their daily expenses.

In fact, in a recent survey, findings indicated that 41 per cent of fresh graduates opted to do gig jobs as it can be a good starting path for them before they can grasp something full time and permanent.

Apart from that, another reason is that there are a tonne of job options in the gig economy.

Through platforms like eRezeki and eUsahawan set up by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysians can easily find any temporary job that arouses their excitement that in line with their interest and skills.

A recent survey by PriceWaterhouseCooper indicated that flexibility is the topmost concern among millennial job seekers nowadays. This has made it easier for them to take their work lives into their own hands as the gig economy allows them to choose where and when they want to work.

This can also be particularly attractive and remunerative for skilled professionals such as web designers, who can leverage their skills for maximum advantage.

As opposed to the traditional work style, giggers are judged based on the upshots they produce and it is up to them how they will deliver their work ― which allows them to tap into their natural reserves of intuition, creative thinking and self-reliance.

There are, of course, the drawbacks of the gig economy.

The giggers are lacking in steady salary, paid sick leave and other benefits resulting in higher chances of financial insecurity.

Through the new scheme introduced by Foodpanda, delivery drivers are currently paid based on the number of orders, not per hour. If within an hour they manage to do three or four deliveries, they would earn quite well.

However, as the nature of this work is based on the on-demand service, riders can spend up to an hour waiting to be assigned for delivery, by which, they are not getting paid for the waiting hours.

Thus, they are unable to fully utilise their working hours to collect themaximum daily wage.

This seems unfair, right?

Although the Foodpanda company claims that this new scheme will allow their riders to earn more, the riders seem to disagree as they complained that the number of orders is getting slower nowadays.

This is due to many the many e-hailing services which are available out there, allowing the consumers to have a variety of choices to choose from.

Throughout a shift, they can end up making less than the minimum wage. And what happens if they fall sick?

This put such giggers in a precarious position. If they can’t even be guaranteed to make a minimum wage, this will cause them difficulties to make ends meet on a day- to-day basis.

Not only that, in the long-term, it is tough for them to rent a property let alone saving for the bad days or retirement, as they do not have financial safety nets like pension and savings in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account.

However, Gojek has recently made a right move by introducing an earnings protection insurance scheme for its drivers.

Under this scheme, drivers will be covered for up to 21 days of medical leave and 84 days of hospitalisation leave.

This will indeed protect the workers’ rights and welfare which is a good example for the other e-hailing services to follow.

Another drawback on the employer’s end specifically for the human resources department, is, it will be hard for them to hire a worker for top management roles as the pool of talent is brimming with giggers who haven’t been allowed to hone their skills.

Companies along with businesses must quickly adapt and learn how to handle the massive influx of these impermanent workers ― by investing in mentorship and training courses to help them strengthen their skills so that the quality standards can be met.

In the next few decades, we can see the end of the full-time positions as the prevalent mode of employment.

Millennials and Gen Z ― the generations who are shaped by the internet and mobile technology are set to dominate the future world of work and are more resilient to change and uncertainty as well as crave for ownership in working.

Also, as the gig economy continues to grow, companies should step up to adapt with these changes and ensure the welfare of the giggers is protected while maintaining fair working standards ― as their utmost priorities.

* Nurafifah Mohammad Suhaimi is Research Assistant at EMIR Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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gig workers: Gig workers are super heroes who keep neighbourhoods connected

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BENGALURU: Partnerships between governments and private businesses including Ola, Flipkart, Swiggy, Urban Company and Uber among others are playing a crucial role in the fight against Covid-19, according to a report published by Ola Mobility Institute (OMI).

The report highlights the contribution of gig workers to the ongoing fight against the pandemic and collaborative measures that have been taken globally and in India to protect those on the frontline. “Gig work constitutes essential public services and adds tremendous value to local economies, putting money in the hands of people on a daily basis. However, this does not make them immune to the economic effects of the outbreak,” the report said.

OMI urged the government and businesses to necessitate large-scale economic and financial interventions for gig workers who have been instrumental in keeping people safe and the economy running in these trying times.

“Under these extraordinary circumstances, gig workers and platform companies are adapting quickly and leveraging their workforce to ensure transportation services, delivery of essential commodities and medicines are available to the most vulnerable populations,” Carson Dalton, Senior Director at Ola Mobility Institute, said.

The report also highlighted the policy measures taken by governments globally — from fiscal and monetary policies such as unemployment benefits, tax relief, and targeted liquidity provisions, to lending and financial support — to minimise the human and economic impact of Covid-19 and particularly protect the self-employed, gig workers and small businesses. “These collective efforts built on a strong foundation of social partnerships will pave the way for a brave new world — a world that is resilient,” the report said.



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Coronavirus Lockdown Puts the Squeeze on San Antonio Gig Economy Workers

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Seen any Uber drivers around lately?

Chances are you haven’t. In this climate of social distancing, not many folks want to pile into a car and sit a couple feet away from a stranger.


That has spelled problems for San Antonio’s gig economy. One ride-share driver who declined to give his name said he’s witnessed a 75% decrease in rides during off-peak hours. Work during peak hours has dropped in half.


A recent Business Insider survey of more than 1,000 ride-share workers corroborated the downturn. Its numbers were even more bleak, however, putting the decrease at as much as 80% nationally.




It’s unclear exactly how many San Antonio workers rely on ride-share driving and other app-based employment. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2017 that a third of all U.S. workers drew paychecks from the gig economy. BLS predicted that number would rise to 43% in 2020.


The decline in ridership has created a market correction that’s pulled local drivers off the road and forced them to seek other income.


“There’s no money out there for ride-sharing,” said another driver who requested anonymity. “People sit and wait at the Uber pool at the airport and need to drive so far away to grab people. It’s not even worth it.”


While it seems like delivery services such as GrubHub and DoorDash could offer a quick pivot, local drivers say those aren’t accepting new drivers. One shared a screen capture of a message from DoorDash saying it’s not looking for new delivery drivers but promised to email once that changed.


According to the Texas Workforce Commission, self-employed residents affected by the outbreak may qualify for benefits under the Federal Stimulus Bill. It urged affected workers to call it at 800-939-6631 or visit its website to apply for benefits.


However, with more than half a million Texans filing unemployment claims in the last 18 days, TWC’s phone and computer systems have been overwhelmed, leading to busy signals and website crashes.


But there’s been a bit of good news for local gig workers.


Some say they successfully switched to food delivery and are offsetting their losses. A handful reported that by driving for Uber Eats, they’ve even seen an upswing in traffic.


One driver who declined to be named said he’s between jobs and is pulling in decent income driving for Favor. Among Favor’s perks are guaranteed pay if he has works a specific number of hours and an incentive program increases his pay for the weekend.


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Here’s what we know about new unemployment aid program for self-employed, gig workers – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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