A BILL seeking to define employment standards for the ‘gig economy’ after the pandemic has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara said Senate Bill No. 1469, which if passed will be known as the National Digital Careers Act, said there is a need to institutionalize employment standards as businesses reconfigure their work forces in the wake of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) emergency.

“We are seeing the growth of the so-called gig economy in the country and with the extended period of the lockdown being implemented because of COVID-19, there will be even more activity on this front as businesses adjust to the new normal,” he said in a statement Sunday.

The gig economy depends heavily on freelancers or independent contractors. The government has so far supported digital freelancers through the DigitalJobsPH program that helps them find projects.

Under the bill, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are required to develop programs that will give digital entrepreneurs access to training, market information and innovation strategies.

Such digitally-enabled services include online teaching and tutoring, content creation, digital marketing, mobile app development, and search engine optimization.

It also tasks the DICT and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to ensure broader access to high-speed internet.

“A lot of our activities under the new normal will rely on internet connectivity-be it education or commerce, so this must be among our national priorities now,” Mr. Angara also said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), among other agencies, have been tasked to set the employment standards for digital career workers, particularly on the prescribed minimum wage.

The bill will also incentivize digital workers or freelancers through the grant of full or partial scholarships for training, both here and overseas, as well as subsidies on the use of state-owned facilities, office space, and equipment.

The government will also provide grants-in-aid for acquiring computers, hardware and software. — Charmaine A. Tadalan