There have been a lot of questions about how so-called "gig" workers like Uber drivers will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic and what, if anything, companies will do to help. Today, Uber detailed its plan for compensating drivers if they are unable to work because of a COVID-19 diagnosis or a mandated quarantine. In either scenario, Uber will offer its drivers and delivery workers 14 days of financial assistance.
Because the amount of money that Uber drivers make varies so widely, Uber will base the financial assistance on a driver's average daily earnings over the last six months. If they haven't been driving for six months, Uber will average their earnings between their start date and March 6th. For instance, if a driver was making $28.57 per day, they'll receive $400. If they were earning $121.42 per day, they'll receive $1700.
"We believe this policy lets us fairly support both people who use the platform once in a while to supplement their income, as well as those who primarily rely on our platform to pay their bills," Uber wrote in a press release.
Because the situation is evolving so rapidly, this policy is effective until April 6th, at which time Uber says it will reassess the situation. If Uber stops operations in a city or country completely due to COVID-19, it will work with local governments to understand how to best support drivers and delivery people — though a full service shutdown has not yet occurred anywhere in the world.
Lyft has also said it will compensate drivers, but it has not yet released a detailed plan. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates were discussing a fund to compensate drivers affected by the virus, so we may see more compensation plans being rolled out soon. Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution, and drivers who see a downturn in business but are not diagnosed or quarantined by a public health authority will likely suffer from lost wages.
Reporting by Christine Fisher for Engadget.