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How financially free are freelance workers in Singapore?

Only 2 in 10 freelance workers meet their monthly savings target.

Only one in 10 (17%) freelance workers in Singapore feel financially free, according to a survey by Singlife.

When asked to rate their level of financial freedom on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represented “Not Financially Free" and 100 represented "Extremely Financially Free," the average freelance or platform worker assigned themselves a score of 50.

Some (17%) platform workers have never even thought about financial freedom. 

The survey also found that only one in 10 freelance workers are confident in their ability to cope with rising costs and inflation, whilst only two in 10 could consistently meet their monthly savings targets after covering their expenses. 

Retirement planning is also low on a freelance worker’s priority list, with just one in 10 having taken any steps to secure their financial future.

“The platform economy is a key enabler of the digital future. For it to be sustainable and to thrive in the long run, its ecosystem must be set up for inclusive success for business owners, platform workers and consumers alike. In other words, a win-win outcome for all,” Wong Wanyi, FinTech leader at PwC Singapore, said.

In 2022, the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers established by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower made recommendations for for social protection of self-employed individuals working for online platforms.

Platform companies expressed support for the recommendations and have agreed with the principle of mandating at-work injury coverage; however, they expressed concerns about the challenges in executing the recommendations and implementing the Workplace Injury Compensation Act (WICA) as-is.

Platform owners also acknowledged that mandating the Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions in the platform industry could trigger a negative circular effect, including increased operating costs for owners and fewer jobs for platform workers.

Companies also highlighted the need for investments in technology and operations, as well as a sufficient testing and iteration runway to ensure a smooth rollout of the committee’s recommendations.
 

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