House of Representatives

House approves bill adding pay, protection for freelance workers

Rambo Talabong

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House Bill No. 8817 requires a contract, night shift pay, and hazard pay for freelance workers

The House of Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading House Bill No. 8817, or the proposed Freelance Workers Protection Act, which requires a contract, additional payments, and measures to protect freelance workers.

Voting 195-0 with no abstentions, the House approved the bill through a hybrid session on Thursday, March 25.

In her speech after its approval, Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas welcomed the passage of the bill, noting that the Philippines has around 1 to 2 million freelance workers, and that these numbers are expected to rise amid the pandemic.

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Key provisions

The bill seeks to make contracts mandatory between companies and freelance workers. It also requires night shift pay and hazard pay.

The bill seeks to penalize companies who pay their freelance workers more than 15 days beyond the agreed payment date, and companies that retaliate against freelance workers for using the law to seek just compensation.

If the measure is signed into law, the Department of Labor and Employment would receive complaints in relation to freelance work. Aggrieved workers can also file civil complaints before a court.

Those found guilty of violations could be fined between P50,000 and P500,000.

A counterpart bill at the Senate is up for 2nd reading in the plenary.


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.