Uber, Lyft to of­fer paid sick leave to any in­fected driver

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rex Crum and Erica Heller­stein

Uber and Lyft have said they will be­gin of­fer­ing their driv­ers up to 14 days of paid sick leave if they come down with coro­n­avirus, or are quar­an­tined be­cause of the ill­ness.

An­drew MacDonald, Uber’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of rides and plat­form, said the ride-hail­ing leader is work­ing to im­ple­ment the paid sick leave pol­icy for all of its driv­ers world­wide. MacDonald said driv­ers will be el­i­gi­ble for sick leave pay when they pro­vide proper doc­u­men­ta­tion of be­ing di­ag­nosed with coro­n­avirus, placed into quar­an­tine, asked to self iso­late, or have been taken off Uber’s driv­ers’ app for 14 days at the di­rec­tion of a public health or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We are sup­port­ing driv­ers and de­liv­ery peo­ple who are di­ag­nosed with COVID-19 (coro­n­avirus) or placed in quar­an­tine by a public health author­ity,” MacDonald said, in a state­ment on Uber’s paid sick leave pol­icy. “We believe this is the right thing to do.”

Lyft spokesper­son Alexan­dra La­Manna echoed Uber’s po­si­tion in a state­ment pro­vided to this news or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We will pro­vide funds to driv­ers should they be di­ag­nosed with COVID-19, or put un­der in­di­vid­ual quar­an­tine by a public health agency,” La­Manna said.

Nei­ther Uber, nor Lyft, pro­vided any de­tails about how they would de­ter­mine com­pen­sa­tion amounts for any driv­ers who take sick leave due to coro­n­avirus. Uber said it has no re­ceived no re­ports about coro­n­avirus be­ing spread from one of its driv­ers to a rider, while Lyft had no fur­ther com­ment on the mat­ter.

Uber, Lyft, and other so­called gig-econ­omy com­pa­nies such as its ride-hail­ing ri­val had come un­der crit­i­cism for not of­fer­ing driv­ers paid leave for any mat­ters, in­clud­ing ill­nesses such as coro­n­avirus. So far, more than 100,000 cases of coro­n­avirus have been di­ag­nosed world­wide, with 550 cases and 22 deaths be­ing re­ported in the United States.

De­spite Uber and Lyft of­fer­ing the paid sick leave to any driv­ers in­fected with coro­n­avirus, not ev­ery­one was quick to praise the com­pa­nies for their ac­tions.

Of­fi­cials with Gig Work­ers Rising (GWR), an ac­tivist group which ad­vo­cates for worker pro­tec­tions and ben­e­fits, said Uber and Lyft still have much more to do to when it comes to pro­vid­ing for their driv­ers at dur­ing non-emer­gency sit­u­a­tions like the coro­n­avirus sit­u­a­tion.

“A fund to cover those who have been quar­an­tined does noth­ing for the thou­sands of driv­ers who may show symp­toms but chose not to stay home for fear of miss­ing a pay­check and fall­ing be­hind on rent,” GWR said, in a state­ment. “Work­ers do not need health­care and paid time off only dur­ing a pan­demic — they de­serve these rights at all times, in or­der to en­sure that their health is not de­pen­dent on a com­pany’s whim.”

Mean­while, more coro­n­avirus cases were be­ing re­ported around the Bay Area, and the num­ber of events and con­fer­ences in the re­gion that were can­celled due to the virus con­tin­ued to rise.

“We will pro­vide funds to driv­ers should they be di­ag­nosed with COVID-19, or put un­der in­di­vid­ual quar­an­tine by a public health agency.”

— Alexan­dra La­Manna, Lyft spokesper­son

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