Uber is offering drivers 14 days of paid sick leave if they contract coronavirus (COVID-19), according to CNN. Previously, the company said there would be no sick time offered. Instead, Uber had issued a notice reminding drivers to wash their hands, disinfect their vehicles, and stay home if they felt sick.
- Uber is offering 14 paid sick days to drivers who catch coronavirus, an offer open to those either diagnosed with the virus or placed in quarantine by authorities.
- Exactly how much drivers will be paid has not been disclosed.
- The move comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to rise, and those who make their living as a part of the gig economy see their income potentially shrink.
Drivers and passengers are nervous about the potential for catching coronavirus. (Photo: Getty Images)
Federal laws don’t require paid sick time
There’s no federal law requiring companies provide sick leave. As a result, roughly one quarter of U.S. workers lose pay if they call in sick. This leads to people going to work when they’re ill rather than staying home, which is exactly what authorities are trying to prevent.
Uber’s new policy should make it easier for sick drivers to stay home. While the policy allows workers 14 days of sick pay should they come down with coronavirus, Uber didn’t say exactly how much workers impacted by COVID-19 will receive. It also didn’t extend this policy to just any illness, so someone with a cold or a flu would not be covered.
According to Reuters, Lyft is also taking action to support its drivers. It previously had given guidance similar to Uber by recommending drivers keep their cars clean, wash their hands, and seek medical care as needed. Lyft has not said how many sick days it will allow nor how much it will be paying its drivers.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Drivers are worried about lost income, which could lead to them driving when they should be home. Passengers are worried about getting into a car with a sick driver and contracting coronavirus. Offering paid sick days makes it more likely drivers will seek prompt medical care reducing the chance of spreading the virus and setting the minds of passengers at ease. But the coronavirus still stands as a threat to an industry that has struggled to turn its success into profitability.