THE HOUSE of Representatives is willing to adopt the Senate’s final version of a bill seeking to promote the welfare of freelance workers when Congress resumes sessions on May 23, a lawmaker said on the weekend.
“To move the Freelance Workers bill faster through Congress in the final stretch, I am open to House concurrence with the version the Senate will approve when Congress resumes session just weeks from now,” Pangasinan Rep. Christopher V.P. De Venecia said in a statement.
“This approach will shave off a few crucial days.”
Mr. De Venecia said he supports combining House Bill (HB) 8817 and Senate Bill 1810, or the Freelance Workers Protection Act, since most of their provisions are similar but urged the Senate to include key House provisions.
“Nonetheless, I will ask our colleagues in the Senate, through their majority leader Senator (Juan Miguel F.) Zubiri to incorporate the HB 8817 provisions on Night Shift Differential, Hazard Pay, the Agency Enforcement and Administrative Process, Civil Enforcement, and Report.
Mr. De Venecia also urged the Senate to include the House provision that directs the Department of Labor and Employment to submit a report to Congress so that legislators can review the measure’s impact after it becomes law.
The House provision that imposes fines up to P500,000 for violations against the freelancer-contract party should also be added to the Senate version, he said.
“We will also recommend the inclusion of the provisions from the House version on both civil and administrative remedies for the freelancers’ legal recourse, as well as the interest rate penalty for violation of the order of payment,” he added.
Both the House and Senate versions require a written contract between employer and freelance workers. Both versions also require freelance workers to pay taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
House Bill 8818 was approved on third reading on March 25, 2021 and was transmitted to the Senate on April 12 that year. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan