Protecting Your Rights as A Gig Worker

Protecting Your Rights as A Gig Worker – Understanding Your Employment Agreement

Are you a freelancer or gig worker facing the very common yet frustrating problem of dealing with clients to get paid on time or after the project is completed? Well, you are not alone.

A recent fiasco regarding unpaid salaries to gig workers at a vaccination centre has brought to light the importance of protecting freelancers in today’s workforce from such unfair trade practices.

Want to protect your rights? Well, that is where contracts come into play.

Contract of Service Vs. Contract for service

When it comes to work-related contracts, there are two main categories available. And it is essential that you understand the key difference between them so that you can take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights accordingly.

A contract of service is the most common type of agreement between an employer and employee, where the employee is engaged on behalf of the business to fulfil specific key employment terms. In such cases, the employees are protected by Singapore’s labour law under the Employment Act against any form of unfair practices.

On the other hand, a contract for service also commonly known as a freelance service agreement, establishes a client versus contractor relationship instead, where the self-employed worker carries out an assignment on their own account for a defined fee. In this instance, they will not be covered by the Employment Act nor have any other statutory benefits like leave benefits.

Which Is a Better Type of Work-Related Agreement?

Given the additional protection by labour laws and employment benefits that come with a contract of service, it is a preferred type of work contract for.

Unfortunately, it is not applicable for every employment situation – particularly for project-based assignments.

So, how do you tell which kind of contract you are under?

Identifying Your Contract Type: What to Look Out For?

Being able to correctly identify your contract type will help you know what types of legal rights you have in any situation. Here are some things that should help identify which type of contract applies to you:

Ø  Parties Involved

Is there an entity that provides you with the tools, place, and equipment for work? If the answer is yes, you are likely in a contract of service with said entity.

If you are carrying out the business on your account, then is it likely a contract for service agreement.

Ø  Job Information, Benefits & Compensation

A contract of service will need to include key employment terms, with some common ones including leave benefits, medical benefits, a defined job scope, start date of employment, working arrangement amongst others.

Without these key employment terms, it is likely you are in a freelance agreement and are unprotected by the Employment Act.

Ø  Classification of the Employment

In any case where the classification is not immediately clear, make sure to clarify which type of contract is it and have the confirmation in writing for future reference.


Are you enjoying the benefits listed? Do you have further questions on your rights as a gig worker?

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