Oliver Bugarin 5 0 0 3 min to read

House panel endorses bill to protect freelancers.

At the House of Representatives, a bill offering incentives and protections for independent contractors has cleared the committee.

The consolidated version of House Bill 615, also known as the Freelance Workers Protection Act, was approved by the House Labor and employment committee at a hearing on Monday. It was written by Pangasinan Representative Christopher De Venecia.

By requiring the payment of required hazard pay and night shift differential compensation, the law expressly intends to enhance the safety and well-being of independent contractors.

Additionally, it would allow independent contractors the authority to seek payment for services rendered through various legal channels, impose civil penalties on dishonest employing parties, and make failure to pay wages a crime.

The bill defines a freelance worker as any individual “hired or retained to provide services in exchange for compensation,” regardless of whether that individual is incorporated under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), registered as a sole proprietor under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), or registered as self-employed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

De Venecia asserted that it is past time for legislation to be passed to safeguard the freelancers who make up the creative industry’s critical mass.

According to the law, before the services are delivered, any hiring party procuring or retaining the services of a freelance worker must sign a written contract with that freelancer.

The bill also stipulates a civil fine ranging from PHP50,000 to PHP500,000 for actions that violate the proposed law, such as paying the freelancer’s compensation more than 15 days after the date specified in the written contract or requiring the freelancer to accept less money than the agreed-upon contract price as a condition of receiving payment.

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