CPF boost for GrabCar drivers

The Straits Times

GrabCar drivers who make at least 80 trips a week can get up to $100 a month in Medisave accounts

Grab has become the first ride-hailing company to provide its GrabCar drivers with Medisave contributions.

Under the GrabCar Medisave Programme, drivers who contribute to their Medisave accounts will get up to $100 a month from Grab to add to their account.

This incentive is offered only to GrabCar drivers who made at least 80 trips a week to qualify for the maximum contribution of $100 a month.

GrabCar drivers under its Platinum Partner Programme, who need to hit a certain number of rides and uphold a high rating, are eligible for a higher Medisave contribution cap of $200.

Mr Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore, said: "We believe the focus Grab places on helping our drivers... have peace of mind with better care for their medical needs, will make driving a long-term sustainable option for more in Singapore."

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The programme is offered in partnership with the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA).

Executive secretary of NPHVA, Mr Mohamad Randy, said: "The NPHVA strongly urges all eligible GrabCar drivers to participate in the scheme and strengthen their CPF (Central Provident Fund) savings."

He added that other companies in the industry, including car leasing companies and apps-based platforms, should do more and provide concrete support to private hire vehicle drivers to contribute and grow their CPF savings.

Labour MP and National Taxi Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee told The New Paper that Medisave is a "basic fundamental need".

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He said: "Helping workers in their medical needs is an exceptionally meagre thing and (this step) shows that Grab's freelancers are valued partners.

"By providing this, drivers can concentrate on work and don't need to worry about medical needs. Then, more drivers will want to join."

SIM University economist Walter Theseira said that Grab's being proactive shows they are attentive to the potential negative aspects of the gig economy.

He told TNP: "By making its move early, Grab has its seat at the table when it comes to policymaking for the gig economy. It shows their commitment towards their workers, and it is very strategic.

"It will put some pressure on their competitor, Uber, to do something similar."

But Dr Theseira added that Grab may not have the margin to sustain this programme, given its business model.

"None of the gig economy platforms seem to be profitable. Their model is costly and labour intensive," he said.


He said this is due to Grab having many incentives for drivers and riders.

"To sustain the Medisave programme, it has to come from their revenue, which they may not have," he said.

However, Mr Ang thinks the Medisave programme is sustainable.

Read also: Ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber will help drivers meet new license requirements

He said: "$200 is a small amount compared to how much they spend on advertisements. Businesses should put the interest of their workers first."

Mr Steven Meng, 47, a full-time GrabCar driver, currently makes 50 to 70 trips a week. But he is motivated to hit 80 to get the Medisave contribution.

He said: "I drive about seven hours every day, but I will try to drive two hours more now. (With this programme), I don't have to worry about CPF and can focus on driving."

Read also: Grab set to provide fixed upfront fares for booking cabs

Grab, Uber to help drivers get vocational licence

Grab will assist drivers in getting the new Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL).

The Land Transport Authority announced yesterday that applications for the PDVL will open on Monday.

Private hire car drivers must apply for the PDVL by June 30 or they will not be allowed to continue driving for their companies after that.

Applicants will have up to one year to attend and pass the PDVL course.

Grab announced yesterday that it is investing $10 million in the GrabCar platform. This will defray all PDVL-related charges such as the $40 application fee and medical check-ups.

Drivers with the SkillsFuture grant can use it to fund the required 10-hour training course, but if they do not, it will be funded by Grab.

The Straits Times reported that Uber is also helping its drivers move to the licensing scheme with its Uber Fastlane Programme, which will also offer free medical check-ups and free vocational licence training.

This article was first published on Mar 10Y, 2017.
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