ALBAY 2nd district Rep. Jose Ma. S. Salceda has filed a bill seeking to protect the rights of freelance workers and to exempt them from taxes initially.

Mr. Salceda filed House Bill 1527, which if passed will become the Freelance Workers Protection Act.

He said the measure “provides a remedy in the event that an employer refuses to pay a freelancer for services rendered” and cited the need to set up protections because the freelance economy is growing.

“Freelancers are often considered self-employed,” Mr. Salceda said. “With more and more freelancers, we are confronted with an urgent need to protect this new sector and empower them with ease of doing business.”

The bill requires any party retaining the services of a freelance worker to issue a written contract for P10,000 or more, with the contract to be executed before work begins, and sets a 30-day payment deadline after the job is completed.

“Once a freelance worker has commenced performance under the contract, no hiring party may require as a condition of payment that a freelance worker accept less than the specified contract price,” read the bill.

The bill also makes it easier for freelancers to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and in other government agencies.

The measure also seeks to exempt freelance workers from payment of income tax for the first three years of work reckoning from the date of registration with the BIR.

Freelancers with income of below P300,000 will be exempt from tax, while those earning P300,001 to P10 million are required to pay a 10% rate. Violators are subject to a fine of P250,000. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras