According to a survey by Zurich Insurance, 38% of Malaysians are looking to join the gig economy in the next 12 months
That's almost 4 in 10 Malaysians who plan to leave their full-time jobs to join the gig economy, which includes becoming a freelance worker, independent contractor, or online platform worker like an e-hailing driver.
In fact, the gig economy has been picking up as a global trend. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, thousands have been forced to work from home, causing employers to rethink the way they approach employment.
2.2 million gig workers have already registered with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), and the number looks to be on the rise
However, this doesn't come as a surprise, considering the flexibility and perks that gig workers get to enjoy.
One of the reasons why Malaysians are drawn to the gig economy is the ability to decide their own working hours. Besides that, many gig workers have the added benefit of receiving cash upfront instead of having to wait until the end of each month.
Nevertheless, there are concerns for those in the gig economy, like the lack of insurance coverage
Unlike salaried employees, those in the gig economy generally don't have company-covered insurance plans. This means gig workers have to bear the cost if they come across any accidents on the job.
Thankfully, companies in the gig economy are taking steps to protect workers and provide them with better benefits
E-hailing service Grab recently introduced their Personal Accident Plus insurance, which Grab drivers can enjoy free for three months. After which drivers have the option of subscribing to the service from just RM5.50/month.
The government is also doing its part in protecting gig workers
In October 2019, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the gig economy will be made part of the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021 – 2025. With the gig economy comprising of 26% of the workforce, the government is looking at ways to ensure better social protection for gig workers.
To help save for the future, EPF encourages gig workers and self-employed Malaysians to save with i-Saraan, a flexible savings scheme aimed for those in the informal sector
In 2017, only 18% of Malaysians were on track to achieving basic EPF savings. A survey by RinggitPlus also showed that 54% of Malaysians do not even have enough savings to last them three months. This means a majority of Malaysians won't have enough money to sustain themselves after retirement.For gig workers who do not earn a regular income, i-Saraan is a flexible way for them to build a financial safety net. With i-Saraan, gig workers get to save for their future and enjoy high annual dividends and 15% government contribution of up to RM250 each year. They can also make withdrawals for housing, education, and health according to EPF's guidelines.
The great thing about i-Saraan is that it's simple to use
All you have to do is visit your nearest EPF branch and sign up by filling a form. Once done, you can make contributions via online banking, at selected bank counters, and EPF counters.
There is no minimum payment limit, which means you can contribute as much or as little as you want each time. However, there is a maximum of RM60,000/year for all voluntary contributions.
All in all, the gig economy is entering into an exciting phase, and EPF is committed to helping hardworking Malaysian workers prepare financially for an uncertain future