DAGUPAN CITY – The House of Representatives has approved on third reading House Bill No. 8817 or the proposed Freelance Workers Protection Act.
"It's about time we started protecting our freelancers who comprise around 2 percent of our population. This is actually the biggest figure per capita in the world," Pangasinan fourth district Representative Christopher De Venecia, one of the principal authors of the bill, said in a statement on Friday.
The Freelance Workers Protection bill seeks to introduce numerous key provisions for the protection of freelancers, including those making written contracts mandatory when procuring their services as it also provides night shift differential and hazard pay to them, he said.
Under the measure, complaints about any violation of its provisions may be filed with the Department of Labor and Employment through the Undersecretary for Workers with Special Concerns.
He added those found to be engaged in unlawful practices under the Act shall be liable to pay a civil penalty ranging from PHP50,000 to PHP500,000.
De Venecia said the bill also provides for certain tax provisions that encourage freelancers to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and a designated lane for them in BIR Revenue District Offices.
The bill also stipulates tax relief for them within the thresholds provided under Republic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) law, and Republic Act No. 9178, or the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE) Act of 2002, he said.
"Many corporations and hiring parties rely heavily on freelancers who are extremely talented and knowledgeable at their craft. One of the biggest drawbacks of a Filipino freelancer is the non-payment for services rendered. More often than not, the freelancer does not pursue any course of action to demand payment for lack of remedial channels, fear of retribution, or lack of resources to pursue legal action,” said de Venecia, who was himself a freelancer at many points in his career.
The bill will be transmitted to the Senate for further deliberation before it can be submitted to the President. (PNA)