Women are more likely to participate in platform work given the flexibility it provides, according to a discussion paper published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

PIDS Senior Research Fellow Connie Bayudan-Dacuycuy and PIDS Research Analyst Lora Kryz Baje said platform work has the “potential to help women reconcile the age-old conflict between unpaid work and market work” and can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal targets on women empowerment and gender equality.

However, they raised the need to analyze the issues that come with platform work to “prevent the widening and deepening of existing inequalities, to ensure decent work in platform work, and to ensure that the work is inclusive and sustainable”.

Dacuycuy and Baje pointed out that without policies and programs toward skills development, the gender skills gap is likely to remain, if not widen. Hence, the government needs to come up with a feasible solution to address this issue.

“Skills development and training systems that enable workers to develop the requisite skills in any work arrangement is crucial. The government can leverage digital platforms to efficiently bring together markets for skills and training,” they noted.

They explained that this would benefit women in harnessing the benefits (i.e., economic empowerment, flexibility to perform housework and care tasks) of platform work. It will also help both men and women prepare for the challenges that may result from disruptions and uncertainties in the labor market.

“To do this, the government can leverage digital platforms to develop skills and training systems that will bring together public and private providers to serve the demand for skills and training,” the authors said.

There are existing government programs that aim to enhance the digital skills of Filipinos. One of these is the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) digitaljobsPH program, which aims to assist economically disadvantaged areas and rural communities by creating and promoting ICT-enabled jobs. Other programs include the Philippine Qualifications Framework and the Philippine TalentMap Initiative of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Another obstacle that needs government intervention is the lack of policies on social protection systems for those engaged in platform work.

According to the study, one of the reasons platform workers do not subscribe to security funds, pension funds, or private health insurance is the inability to pay contributions regularly due to limited funds and the instability of their monthly income.

Dacuycuy and Baje said this issue can be addressed by combining contributory and noncontributory (e.g., tax) schemes to finance universal social protection.

The authors also stressed the importance of promoting employment and protecting workers against labor market uncertainties. “One way to do this is to link training and social protection systems, a potential starting point of which is an unemployment insurance that not only provides minimum income while unemployed but also covers reskilling/upskilling and training cost to facilitate movement in-between jobs,” they said.

There is also a need to tackle care economy issues and women’s limited participation in market work. According to Bayudan and Baje, the government should provide workers with good and reliable child care services that coincide with the office schedule, institutionalize a four-day workweek, and implement work-from-home schemes for those whose tasks can be done offsite.

Lastly, they urged the government to collect nationally representative data of platform workers to better understand online work's benefits and challenges.

They said the Philippine Statistics Authority should spearhead the measurement and data collection in collaboration with various government agencies such as DOLE, Department of Trade and Industry, DICT, and the Philippine Commission on Women. ###

This article is based on the PIDS Discussion Paper titled “Decent Work in Crowdwork: Gendered Takeaways from an Online Survey in the Philippines”.

Main Menu

Secondary Menu