The Singapore government has announced a scheme, “Platform Worker CPF Transition Support,” to provide support to lower-income platform workers as they make increased Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions.
This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong during his Budget 2023 speech on Tuesday (14 Feb).
The scheme is intended to cushion the impact of additional CPF contributions on the take-home pay of Singaporean platform workers who earn S$2,500 or less per month, including those whose income comes from platform work and other sources.
Platform workers who are below the age of 30 will be required to contribute to their CPF Ordinary and Special Accounts starting in late 2024, while platform workers from older cohorts can opt in.
The transition support will be provided for the first four years after the implementation of these changes, Mr Wong said.
Last year, the government accepted a series of recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, including one that called for the alignment of CPF contribution rates for platform workers and companies with those of employees and employers over a five-year period.
The committee recommended an average of 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent increases in CPF contribution rates annually, for platform workers and platform companies, respectively.
These CPF contribution rates will apply to workers’ total earnings, less expenses.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed his concern about delivery workers who work with online platforms like Food Panda, Grab, or Deliveroo during his National Day Rally address in 2021.
He noted that these delivery workers are just like employees “for all intents and purposes,” but have no employment contracts with the online platforms, leaving them without the basic job protections that most employees enjoy, such as workplace injury compensation, union representation, and employer CPF.
In announcing the Platform Worker CPF Transition Support, Mr Wong said the changes will help platform workers raise their total earnings and strengthen their housing and retirement adequacy.
However, in the short term, the changes will affect the take-home pay of these workers.
He added that more details about the scheme will be announced at the Ministry of Manpower’s Committee of Supply debate.