SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is set to launch a new support scheme for involuntarily unemployed job seekers and new legislation to enhance the rights and benefits of platform workers.

These significant changes, which will come into effect in late 2024, aim to address the evolving work landscape and ensure that vulnerable groups are not left behind.

In his May Day speech this week, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng emphasized the need for this proactive approach. “The pace of change in the economy is accelerating, and we know that more workers will likely be thrown curveballs,” he said.

“We have heard and heeded the call to further support our workers who find themselves displaced through no fault of their own.”

The new support scheme aims to provide financial and career assistance to those who lose jobs due to economic changes or business restructuring.

While exact details are yet to be disclosed, the scheme is expected to offer a safety net for affected workers seeking new employment.

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Simultaneously, MOM will implement new legislation to protect platform workers, focusing on three critical areas: retirement benefits, work injury compensation, and collective representation.

These measures are designed to address long-standing concerns about the rights and welfare of workers in the gig economy, including delivery personnel, private-hire car drivers, and taxi drivers who use online platforms but are not considered traditional employees.

“No Singaporean will be left behind, especially vulnerable workers,” said Dr Tan, emphasizing a commitment to inclusivity. He added, “This is a landmark move in employment legislation, and we are one of the first in the world to do so.”

These developments are part of MOM’s ongoing efforts to adapt to the changing employment landscape.

In November 2022, the ministry announced initial measures to enhance platform workers’ protection, with a plan for progressive implementation from the later part of 2024.