Emerging Trends in the Indo-Pacific Series Ep. 02 | Social Protection for Gig Workers in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia the gig economy is growing fast. Attracted by the promise of flexibility, independence, and low entry costs, gig workers offer their services on a task-by-task basis facilitated through a digital platform or app. The appeal of this model has attracted millions of workers in the region, however, unlike traditional employees, gig workers often lack access to essential social protection schemes, such as health insurance, old-age pension, and unemployment benefits.

In this episode, we examine the challenges presented by this new employment trend. Workers often face precarious working conditions which leave them vulnerable to shocks and unexpected events.  We discuss how governments, unions, and the platforms themselves can work to bridge social protection gaps and extend coverage to this growing group.

This is the second episode of a three-part series titled "Emerging trends for Social Protection in the Indo-Pacific", presented by socialprotection.org. We extend our gratitude to the Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for their invaluable support in shaping this series and facilitating connections with the most suitable guests for each episode.


Meet our guests:

  • Brendan Chia, Head, Regional Public Affairs and Policy for Grab.
  • Francis Kim Upgi, Director of Economic and Social policy for ITUC
  • Yesim Elhan-Kayalar, Advisor, Office of the Chief Economist at ADB

For our Quick Wins segment, we are joined by Cyrus Afshar, Social protection Officer at WIEGO and host of WIEGO’s Informal Economy Podcast.


Episode Resources: