Gojek launches benefits scheme for drivers

From left: DBS Bank managing director Anthony Seow; Esso marketing manager Yap Peng Ann; Gojek Global's head of transport Raditya Wibowo; Gojek Singapore's general manager Lien Choong Luen; Doctor Anywhere chief operating officer Kevin Kok; and Gigac
From left: DBS Bank managing director Anthony Seow; Esso marketing manager Yap Peng Ann; Gojek Global's head of transport Raditya Wibowo; Gojek Singapore's general manager Lien Choong Luen; Doctor Anywhere chief operating officer Kevin Kok; and Gigacover co-founder Chua Cheng Xun at the launch of the programme yesterday.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Ride-hailing operator Gojek yesterday unveiled a benefits programme for its drivers here, aimed at providing them with greater stability of income and better medical and insurance coverage.

GoalBetter will be introduced to select drivers from April 1, with a full roll-out from June.

The initial roll-out will involve "several thousand" Gojek drivers, though the firm did not say how these drivers will be selected.

The Indonesian start-up - reportedly valued at about US$9 billion (S$12.2 billion) - has set up partnerships with Esso and DBS Bank to offer a 20 per cent discount on petrol, as well as rebates of up to 32.4 per cent.

Gojek has also tied up with online medical consultation platform Doctor Anywhere to offer drivers corporate rates for medical consultations, and with insurance technology firm Gigacover to offer drivers earnings protection coverage of $80 a day.

The scheme will cover up to 21 days of medical leave and up to 84 days of hospitalisation leave.

Speaking at the launch of GoalBetter at the Andaz Singapore hotel in Bugis, Gojek Singapore general manager Lien Choong Luen said: "Especially for workers in the gig economy, we need earnings protection and stability."

All benefits are tiered, with drivers who make more trips getting a higher level of benefits.

Gojek's main competitor Grab introduced its own medical leave insurance scheme for drivers in January. It also offers other benefits, such as scholarships and bursaries for the children of drivers.

WORKERS' CONCERNS

Especially for workers in the gig economy, we need earnings protection and stability.

GOJEK SINGAPORE GENERAL MANAGER LIEN CHOONG LUEN, on the new benefits programme for drivers.

ENTICING DRIVERS

The medical insurance and coverage are a key draw as these are pain points for the drivers.

MR DAVID LEONG, managing director for human resource firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting.

According to figures provided by the Land Transport Authority, there were 40,488 private-hire vocational licence holders here as of last December.

Mr David Leong, managing director for human resource firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting, described the benefits offered by Gojek as "innovative incentives" to entice and retain a dedicated pool of drivers.

He noted that as a newcomer to the Republic's ride-hailing scene, Gojek needs to do more to attract private-hire drivers here.

"The medical insurance and coverage are a key draw as these are pain points for the drivers," said Mr Leong.

Gojek driver Jacinta Williams, 63, a private-hire car driver since 2015, said: "Since we are on the road most of the time, having convenient medical coverage is important."

Offering such benefits is a step forward in improving the welfare of private-hire car drivers here, said National Private Hire Vehicles Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee.

Assuring commuters that the welfare of their drivers is taken care of is one way ride-hailing firms such as Grab and Gojek can build their customer base, he said.

"If drivers are healthier, safer and more well taken care of, you can feel more positive about taking a ride with them," said the Ang Mo Kio GRC MP.

Mr Ang noted that consumers are becoming more conscious about their purchasing choices, such as by choosing products from sustainable and ethical sources.

"If you can do that with your coffee or toilet paper, you should also be able to do that with your daily commute, " he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'Gojek launches benefits scheme for drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe