The Tripartite Standard on the Procurement of Services from Media Freelancers (TS Media Freelancers) was launched on Wednesday (29 November) by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Ministry of Health (MOH), Mr Chee Hong Tat.
This initiative is jointly developed by IMDA with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), and supported by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), it is Singapore’s first industry-specific Tripartite Standard that addresses the concerns of media freelancers.
Announced at the Opening of the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, part of the annual Singapore Media Festival, this follows Senior Minister of State’s earlier announcement of plans to develop a tripartite standard to provide better support for media freelancers, during the Ministry of Communications and Information’s Committee of Supply Debate in March this year.
According to IMDA, the TS Media Freelancers sets out industry best practices that promote stronger working relationships between companies and media freelancers.
"The aim is to encourage fair and progressive workplaces that better supports media freelancers. In 2015, the media sector workforce consisted of 83,600 employees and contributed S$9.8 billion in nominal value-added to the economy. Based on MCI’s Study on Freelancers in the Infocomm Media and Design Sectors in 2015, freelancers augment the media industry workforce by 50 percent," it said.
IMDA stressed that companies must adopt the TS Media Freelancers in order to qualify for IMDA media grants and funding for Public Service Broadcast content starting from 1 April 2018.
"Mediacorp will also adopt the TS Media Freelancers and apply the same criteria in their commissioning process," it said.
MCI and IMDA stated that they are also committed to adopting the Standard and putting in place the necessary processes, saying, "Vendors or contractors who are under MCI-led framework agreements, such as the Communications Campaigns Contract, Video Framework Agreement and Translation Framework Agreement, will also be advised to adhere to the Tripartite Standard."
The standard outlines four key areas on Written Contracts, Timely Payment, Dispute Resolution and Insurance:
- Companies are to provide media freelancers with a written contract clearly stating terms such as the agreed deliverables, ownership of intellectual property, and payment milestones, to ensure that both parties have a common understanding of the service to be rendered and terms of payment.
- Companies are also expected to adhere to the payment milestones outlined in the agreed terms.
- Mediation should also be taken as the first course of action for any dispute resolution. In support of this, IMDA provides subsidies for mediation services in partnership with the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) for eligible media companies and media freelancers.
- The Standard also outlines that companies should offer workplace protection for media freelancers through insurance for production equipment, commercial general liability and work-related accidents.
It stated that companies interested to adopt the Standard can sign up through the Tripartite Standards website adding that companies will then be publicly recognised on the Tripartite Standards website and may use the TS Media Freelancers logo in their marketing material to distinguish themselves as a company that adopts the Standard.
More details about the TS (Media Freelancers) can be found on IMDA’s IM Talent portal www.imtalent.sg/TSmediafreelancers.