Industry updates for Freelancers

Over the last few years, PPAS has been working with the NTUC with the aim of improving the business prospects for the photography industry, one thing led to another and….

Now have the Tripartite Workgroup! (TWG – not the tea brand)

The Tripartite Workgroup (TWG), formed in 2017 to identify common challenges faced by self-employed persons (SEPs) and develop recommendations to address these challenges, has submitted its report to the Government.

Comprising officials from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the TWG engaged and consulted about 200 SEPs as well as SEP associations and communities, businesses, and Government agencies.

The full media release can be read here

So what are Freelancers? –

The official term for freelancers (basically anyone not holding a salaried job) is a “self-employed person (SEP)”.

According to the first media release:

Definition of Self-Employed Persons (SEPs)
SEPs refer to persons who operate their own trade or business. Those who do not employ any paid worker and are not contributing family members are also known as “own account workers”. “Own account worker” is the more formal term used in MOM’s Labour Force Supplementary Survey on Own Account Workers, and which closely follows the International Labour Organisation’s classification of Status in Employment. SEPs are also
known loosely as “freelancers” or “independent contractors”.
SEPs work in diverse occupations and include taxi drivers, real estate agents, insurance agents, private hire car drivers and private tutors.
SEPs are not casual, temporary, or term-contract employees who are on employment contracts for fixed periods of time.

One thing to note is that being an SEP is a CAREER.

It’s not meant to be taken lightly or underestimated. The state of the market is a direct indication of how seriously freelancers view ourselves. It is not something “you do on the side to make pocket change while waiting for a REAL JOB to come by”. It is a full-time, professional career which demands both passion and pride.


1 Self-employed persons (SEPs) operate their own trade or business, and include freelancers such as
graphic designers, sport coaches and tourist guides.
2 Businesses may be service buyers that procure services from SEPs directly, or intermediaries that facilitate provision of services by SEPs to service buyers.

This means you *NEED* to be a registered business to ply your trade (despite the law saying business registration is optional), because other businesses need you to be a registered business entity to be able to pay you.

 So there, bottom line to the update is that the Singapore Government is actively doing its part to meet the needs of the freelancer, so we also need to do our part too for things to work out well.